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Sunday, 1 April 2012

Gor Mahia versus AFC Leopards Derbies: Fan trouble or a case of Hooligans and Criminals? PART 2

So it comes as no surprise when in 2012 we are still grappling with crowd trouble,disorderliness and hooliganism at he famed derbies pitting rivals Gor Makia a.k.a. K'Ogallo and AFC Leopards a.k.a. Ingwe.

Just like it was in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s,the week before the match, fans of each of these teams engage in long debates about past matches and possible outcomes of upcoming games. These debates are rife on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and they come full with pictures and cartoon representations of team mascots against each other. Either it’s a picture of a an AFC fan peeing on a Gor Mahia jersey or a pic of a headless chicken etc.Status updates and debates on team fan pages only serve to heighten pre-game tension.

Gor Mahia fans at a local derby
The local dailies also hype these games with full page features on ticket sales, player profiles, past games highlights,,table standings and the side shows during previous derbies.

Thanks to team branding, it becomes very easy to identify an opposing fans and taunt them as they snake their way into the stadium.All the built up tension always simmers at the stadium as games are being played.The slightest of provocation on the pitch or on the stands therefore result into name calling,stones and bottle pelting and general disorderliness.

End results, teams {Gor especially} are fined and banned from playing at certain stadiums or if they play it is in a field without fans.

Here’s my take#

There are fans, fanatics, hooligans and criminals in any sport you might think of.
Gor Mahia and AFC clubs are no exceptions.

Here is the difference according to me....

#1.A FAN: Is keen on when and where matches will be played. He/She will adorn their football jerseys and other paraphernalia e.g. Vuvuzelas and wigs and head to the stadium. They will probably buy a soda or a bottle of water to quench their thirst as they yell their hearts out supporting their team. They will take photos and make numerous status updates on social media within the course of the match. After the game they will file out chanting or hanging their heads in defeat and head home or to the local bar in peace.

#2.A FANATIC: Will come to the game adorned in Club ‘regalia’ probably with an ‘Isikuti’,large blow horn in the form of a tusk etc He/She will travel to any destination the team is going to.They keenly watch the games and can act like the team tactician on the stands with their vocal analysis of every move made by the players or coaches. They will monitor team progress through table standings and player transfers; they are willing and able to give pointers for team improvement to relevant stakeholders. They are registered club members who participate in club activities including election of club officials. They are willing to spend an arm and a leg for the benefit of the team {that’s why you will find them at all manner of team harambees and funeral/wedding committees for club affiliated individuals.}
An 'Ingwe' fan arrives in style with a cockerel mascot

#3.A HOOLIGAN/CRIMINAL: He/She will find out when/where the games are being played. He will adorn club merchandise/regalia to blend in with ‘his people’. He/She will more often than not get intoxicated {beer or miraa..if not bhang..or not}.He will then make his way to the stadium chanting team anthem in with so much gusto. 

He will come already armed with ‘missiles’some of which might seem very ‘ordinary’ to the ‘untrained hooligan'. He will lament on every move made by the players and the technical bench. He’s that guy who always yells,”kwenda huko refaaaa…!”

At the slightest provocation he will be ready to verbally abuse an opposing supporter as he ‘catapults’ his missile to emphasize his point. When all hell breaks loose he will make sure he has knocked off several people’s teeth and stolen enough mobile phones and wallets.

Once on the streets, he’s that guy who will be pelting cars with stones and other projectiles as he either lights bonfires while taunting the police by throwing himself on the hard tarmac urging them to come and arrest him.

It is caliber # 3 that is ruining Kenyan football for most of us!!!

I personally support one of these two great teams and I belong to caliber # 1.If they win,il be happy, if they lose, well..better luck next time. At the end of the day it’s only soccer and Kenyan soccer for that matter. It won’t kill me if they lose 4 or 5 games in a row, I’ll leave it to the technical team to sort out the mess. For me, my two-cents on their social media site are as good enough a rant and rave.

It is unfortunate when innocent lives are lost at our stadiums. A family is put so much grief when a loving member is snuffed away from their midst by a mindless criminal who either maims or takes away their lives.
The irony of it all is that the players understand that it is just a game and will try to quell the tension in the stadium when things go hay wire.

AFC and Gor Mahia players in a show of solidarity after the game
It’s about time a lasting solution is found to this kind of uncalled for incidents instead of finger pointing and blame games.

Just like a sack of potatoes, you are bound to find a few rotten ones. And so is the case with the crowd at a football game. If it means installing CCTV or civilian clothed police in our stadiums, let it be done so that trouble makers can be identified

Banning a team from playing at a stadium will not solve this recurrent problem. Let these criminals be arrested and made to face the full arm of the law: that is the solution.

Soccer has come a long way with corporate sponsorships - not to mention pay TV in the form of live game coverage on DSTV - being injected into the game. When fans continue to die at local derbies it does not augur well with them and they will eventually pull out to the detriment of the clubs.

Politics is also ruining the game! In an electioneering year like now,it is unfortunate when daggers are being drawn politically through sports. Case in point is when AFC/Gor fans start fuelling propaganda that the clubs rivalry is a showdown between the Prime Minister,Raila Odinga{a.k.a.Baba} and Deputy Vice President,Musalia Mudavadi vis-à-vis the ODM party nomination.

A K'Ogallo fan makes his message heard 
Lest we forget, politics is just that, politics! Let us not generalize an individual’s political ambitions to one of a particular ethnicity and much so to that of a club.

This could be a bad precedent to a bloodbath pitting these two footballing rivals who commonly refer to each other as ‘shemejis’{in-laws} in the run up to the general elections.

Football is a beautiful game dear Kenyans, let us use it to unite the country not divide it.

My condolences to the families and friends of all those we have lost in the chaos. May their souls #RIP

The Scribe Rests his Pen.

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