MINISTER of Youth and Sport Vincent Mwale has regretted the US$10, 000 fine the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has slapped on Zambia for crowd trouble during two international matches at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.
And Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Kalusha Bwalya has urged fans to desist from taking the law into their hands.
Mwale said in Lusaka yesterday that it is unfortunate FAZ will folk out US$10, 000 (about K120, 000), which would have gone towards the development of football.
CAF fined Zambia US$5, 000 for fans’ pitch invasion after Zambia beat Namibia 6-5 on penalties after a 3-3 aggregate score in the 2016 Rwanda African Nations Championship qualifier and another US$5, 000 for throwing objects on the pitch during the 2015 Senegal African Under-23 Championship qualifier against Ivory Coast.
“Zambian fans have always been well behaved. We have not had such an incident in a long time. I want to believe that these are just isolated cases. We need to continue with the atmosphere and avoid incidences that will cost us. The money FAZ has been fined by CAF could go a long way in developing football. These are lessons that have to be learnt,” Mwale said.
And Kalusha said Zambia has a good record regarding crowd control and such incidences are worrisome.
He said such behaviour is unacceptable and the incident is a stern warning to Zambian fans to desist from engaging in hooliganism.
“The game of football should be protected with integrity. This is not the direction we want to go and this is not the behaviour we want. We have come a long way and such behaviour is totally unacceptable. Fans should not take the law into their own hands,” Kalusha said.
Chipolopolo Soccer Fans Association chairman Yotam Mwanza said the onus is on the fans’ leaders to sensitise their members on the dangers of engaging in violence.
Mwanza also appealed to FAZ to beef up security at stadiums during international games.
Zambia Sports Fans Association patron Peter Makembo said it is unfortunate that the country has been fined over something that could have been easily avoided.