The recent events at Nyayo stadium where the match between Gor Mahia and Posta Rangers that ended in abandonment of the match is as deplorable as it is unnacceptable.
To recap, Kogalo were down 0-3 after being comprehensively outplayed by the upstart rangers. Irate fans started to toss objects onto the field. The match was halted upon which fans broke into the field. Police fired tear gas and the players, fans and officials alike scampered for safety.
One would think that after the tragedy of a few months ago when several fans died due to unruly behaviour, fans would have learned a lesson. Clearly they have not. What fans must realize is that this kind of behavior hurts the team significantly. Clubs like Gor Mahia are increasingly dependent on gate collections. Yet this kind of behaviour discourages casual fans and even some hard core fans from attending. Fans should strive to create a friendly atmosphere that would make it safe for entire families including young children to attend matches. They after all are the future fans base.
Getting sponsorship has become increasingly possible for many sports teams all over the country as companies seek to cash in on returning crowds. Rugby clubs such as Harlequins and Mwamba are cashing in from sponsors. Even Kisumu Rugby FC with its paltry fan base now has a sponsor. Yet Kogalo with its vast fan base cant attract sponsors. A significant reason is fan behaviour as sponsors tend to shy away from being associated with hooliganism. I am not excusing the club officials after all they havent done a good job of marketing the club with potential sponsors but the events of last Saturday sure do not help.
So what needs to be done ? Fans should start by policing each other. Yours truly remembers sometime in the early 90s when “General” Maurice Odanga then the leader of fans at Russia successfully prevailed upon fans not to engage in stone throwing. This was at a time when the epidemic of hooliganism was at its apex with virtually every other match being abandoned. Most fans are not interested in unruly behavior. Why not start a campaign against hooliganism in the terraces. And If you know any of those goons who appeared in the papers, grab him by the scruff of his neck and talk some sense into him.
Rather than turn their ire onto the match in progress, fans should channel their anger by holding peaceful demonstrations against club officials or any else responsible for the clubs perceived poor performance. Hooliganism like this absolves those directly responsible for the clubs performance i.e the club officials and the technical bench.
Commentary by Muroro-Pacho
Milimani 1989-Strathmore 1993