Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Clubs must learn to take responsibility for their fans’ behaviour

It’s now clear that the Kenyan Premier League and the clubs in the league are completely incapable of controlling crowds at match venues.

I attended Saturday’s match between AFC Leopards and Mathare United and from the events that unfolded after the final whistle, I am now compelled to believe that our local football fans have staged a violent takeover of all the match venues.

The sad thing is that not the clubs, KPL or Football Kenya Federation can do anything about it. Whenever these goons have gone about unleashing terror at match venues to vent out their frustration over reasons only they can explain, all KPL is known for doing is issuing some inane threats, which they don’t execute anyway.

As is always the case, it is the unsuspecting traders, pedestrians and motorists who usually bear the brunt of this public nuisance. The traders whose stalls outsides City Stadium were razed up in the aftermath of Saturday’s match will attest to this.

But it is the clubs that are the masters of passing the buck. Every time things go wrong during matches, the clubs always choose the convenient option of ‘disowning’ their fans as opposed to taking responsibility for the unruly behavior of their benefactors.

Hear out their standard line of absolving themselves from blame:
“Oh! Those trouble makers? Not a single one of them is fan of the club. They are just individuals wearing our replica jerseys with the sole aim of giving us a bad name.”

The irony here is that club branches comprising signed up members is what is currently trending among the fans of the serious teams in the KPL. Yet, the clubs and their members are practically perfect strangers. In time of trouble, neither can recognize the other.

In the final analysis, it matters little whether the perpetrators of hooliganism are actually fans or masqueraders.
The buck stops with the clubs, Kenyan Premier League and Football Kenya Federation in as far as crowd control is concerned. But until this threesome learns to accept responsibility, hooligans will continue having a field day on each and every match day.

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