It’s time to stop the hooligans

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iol spt oct3 Sundowns-Swallows Gallo Images Soccer scribe Jonty Mark recounts the the ugly scenes that took place during PSL game between Moroka Swallows and Mamelodi Sundowns at Dobsonville stadium last weekend.

I was standing on the field, in the midst of my stint as an SABC television analyst, when the chaos broke out at Dobsonville Stadium.

Analysing Sundowns’ latest debacle, another defeat at the hands of Moroka Swallows, was made slightly more tricky, I have to say, by the prospect of a horde of Sundowns fans approaching from the distance.

As it was, these hooligans left the television cameras alone, but tore down the dugouts, and headed for the tunnel, their clear target the Brazilians’ coach, Johan Neeskens.

It remains to be seen whether their actions will see the club face serious repercussions from the Premier Soccer League, which has been distinctly soft with these types of decisions of late.

For Neeskens, however, hit on the head as he left the field, the end now seems inevitable, his expensively assembled shambles of a team going nowhere fast.

Back with the fans, the South African Football Association seemed concerned enough this week to come out and condemn the increased instances of spectator misbehaviour.

Already this season we have seen Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs charged for the actions of their unruly fans. It seems a little strange, that in a country where games are increasingly poorly attended, instances of spectator violence look to be on the up.

It would be a shame if the crowds were to dwindle yet further, with people fearing for their own safety.

Sundowns should be made to play at least a couple of games behind closed doors, to send out a strong message that this kind of behaviour cannot be tolerated.

On a more heartening note, I feel it would be remiss of me if I were not to pay a compliment to the extraordinary start to the new season made by the University of Pretoria.

Tuks were expected to struggle after gaining promotion to the Absa Premiership this season but they are flying, their excellent, fluid passing game taking the league by storm.

If Sundowns are testament to how not to run a club, Tuks are Tshwane’s exact opposite, and a clear indication of what can be done with a good development structure, and showing faith in a long-standing coach.

Steve Barker’s side are second in the Premiership, unbeaten thus far, including staggering wins at Ajax Cape Town and Moroka Swallows. Much more of this, and the continued struggles of Sundowns and even SuperSport United, and the Pretoria side fighting for the title this season will be the one nobody could ever have predicted.

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