BY: PALESA MOTSHOENE
In a moment of utter madness, fans of South Africa’s largest football club, Kaizer Chiefs, stormed the pitch and assaulted a woman who was serving as a security guard amongst other unsavoury acts committed on Saturday night when their game against Free State Stars at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban ended in a 2-0 defeat.
The events of Saturday must rank as one of the worst incidents in South African football, after the Ellis Park Stampede. The scenes caught live on television have since caused a national outrage. But it’s not enough.
The misogyny of Saturday night is obviously deep-seated and must be tackled as such. And there is also the matter of football club governance. Not that the violence of Saturday night can be justified by anything, but the poor governance, the undemocratic approach that gives no hoot what key stakeholder think, of football clubs like Kaizer Chiefs is a matter of concern in itself. It must be addressed for its own sake.
The ugly storming of the pitch came at fulltime after Kaizer Chiefs suffered a 2-0 defeat against Free State Stars in the Nedbank Cup semi-final clash. The life of players and other officials on the pitch was put in grave danger. Steve Komphela resigned as Kaizer Chiefs coach after harrowing three seasons. Perhaps it was time for Kompela to go. But what about Kaizer Chiefs management which contributed a great deal in the making of this tragedy?
A defenceless female security guard was attacked, beaten with all sort of things and left unconscious by Kaizer Chiefs male supporters who because of their disdain saw it befitting to violate this woman. They did not care that she was at work, or that she was a woman. This woman probably out of desperation had to work late at night just for a mere payment of R200. Little did she know that her life would be endangered because of trashy men who always think that violence is the best way to send a message!
A matter of bad governance
I know there are many men who support this insanity but you’d never find them in the thick of things causing this mayhem. To them, they applaud what happened on Saturday night because it led to the immediate resignation of the struggling Steve Komphela.
These fans and supporters think that Khompela was the problem. But little do they know that the Kaizer Chiefs management is the biggest factor. Kaizer Motaung and his team have made it clear that Kaizer Chiefs is a family owned business. They have no room to accommodate any other voice on how to run the club. Not even by the die-hard fans who anchor this business. And yet without these fans; there is no Kaizer chiefs. They are a critical stakeholder and must be treated as such.
This goes to say: We must have a debate about how football clubs are managed because they are very much public institutions! And misgovernance can cause mayhem.
Offcourse, no amount of excuses can justify the scenes we witnessed on Saturday night, the assault, the destruction of property, including camera equipment. The scene of old men behaving like mindless hooligans was shocking. They must be found and punished.
The Premier Soccer League (PSL) is also at the centre of this because of their inconsistency in how they deal with these cases and how even after so many years, they continue failing to control the crowds. Heads must roll.
I hope and pray the assaulted woman lives to tell a tale of that horrific night. And her story must be seen in the light of the fact that women in this country face grave danger as they go about with their day to day business. They are at risk in their homes and in their workplaces. We must tackle this scourge of misogyny once and for all.
Palesa Mothsoene is a businesswoman and an ardent football activist