Fans sets seats on fire at Moses Mabhida Stadium after the game. Photo: Motshwari Mofokeng

DURBAN - Social media videos and TV footage have enabled police to zoom into, and hopefully nab, seven main instigators of public violence at the Moses Mabhida Stadium last week.

At the final whistle in the Nedbank Cup semi-final between Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars, angry Chiefs fans went on a rampage, ultimately causing up to R2.6million of damage.

On Friday, a police source who asked not to be named, said investigators had since identified seven key ringleaders of the mayhem after studying social media videos and TV footage. The faces of wanted culprits were recognisable and included “a man with a yellow hat”, “a man in a brown shirt and carrying a brown box”, “a man wearing an old Chiefs jersey”, “a man wearing a green jacket and handling a TV camera” , “a man in a grey tracksuit, who stole camera equipment” and “a man wearing a Chiefs jersey with the name D Thusi printed on the back”.

Arrests were expected soon. Eighteen people were injured in the mayhem.

Award-winning freelance sports photographer Anesh Debiky counted himself lucky as he was not among them. He was shooting pictures from the northern end of the field during the match when he noticed fans dismantling sections of a crowd barrier. “It seems as if the invasion was premeditated. The security guards positioned at that section of the field were powerless to prevent the invasion when the final whistle was blown,” Debiky recalled.

He said it astounded him that no matter how much damage the fans were doing, police officers on duty preferred to hold back.

When he realised that he could get seriously hurt by rioting fans, he moved as swiftly as he could.

Despite a troublesome knee and ankle and having to lug his equipment weighing 30kg, Debiky managed to find refuge underneath the main grandstand. While he escaped the clutches of the marauding mobs, he later discovered fans had caused R50000 damage to his car.

Debiky said he would never forget the day. “It was horrendous to see such nasty incidents take away the joy of a sporting experience and scar the legacy of the 2010 Fifa World Cup for South Africans.”

SUNDAY TRIBUNE