THE top-of-the-table clash between Kick4Life and Bantu last Saturday at LCS Ground was marred by hooliganism after match commissioner Moeketsi Moholobela was assaulted by a group of A Matšo Matebele supporters.
The Bantu supporters’ ire was ignited by what they felt was biased refereeing after losing 1-0 to Kick4Life.
While it is understandable that football can sometimes elicit intense emotions, violence does not influence an official’s decision nor change the outcome of the match. Such criminal behaviour is unacceptable and should be dealt with firmly to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Known hooligans must be banned from attending all matches. Above all, fans must accept that losing, and graciously so, is part of the game.
For better or worse, the buck stops with the referee and supporters of all teams should bear that in mind. Hopefully, Bantu and premier league management will work together to take punitive measures against the people who attacked the match commissioner.
This dastardly act comes in the wake of concerted efforts by local football stakeholders to attract sponsorship substantial enough to make the transition from amateur to professional levels.
Efforts to develop local football are undone by acts of hooliganism and Bantu should decisively deal with such bad apples, lest the club’s image is permanently dented.
Under John Leuta, Bantu management have done a tremendous job in building the team’s brand.
For its part, the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) needs to address the cause of violence during matches as the first step towards restoring sanity and, to a large extent, a following to a sport that is meant to entertain, not cause pain and destruction.
Some of the causes include alcohol abuse and poor officiating during games.
LeFA needs to put its house in order as far as poor officiating is concerned because it has also played a part in bringing the game into disrepute.
In my view, match officials have a long way to go in improving their standards.
However, I don’t think the match officials during the Bantu-Kick4Life game swayed the result in the latter’s favour.
Both teams had a chance to score from the penalty spot and Bantu missed their chance while Kick4Life converted to win the match.
Even if the match officials had erred, it would not be a licence to attack match officials. It is all the more shocking given that Moholobela is an elderly man.
Moholobela’s assailants should really be ashamed of themselves considering he is likely to be the same age as their fathers. Violence in all its forms, let alone against the elderly, goes against our values as Basotho.