Eyes off the ball

Although the Premier Soccer League (PSL) isn’t short of money, it failed to provide adequate security during the MTN 8 match last weekend.

As in any Cup competition, the PSL provides private security officials and the participating clubs are required to contribute security personnel.

But this was not the case during the MTN 8 first-leg semifinal between Ajax Cape Town and Kaizer Chiefs, because the PSL had no private security officials in Cape Town.

So the league turned to Ajax for help. The Cape Town-based club approached ADT Security Services, a private company that provides services to the Urban Warriors during their home matches.

On the day ADT was responsible for security and crowd control but was found wanting after chaos erupted in the grandstands at Newlands.

The unruly Chiefs fans caused havoc, throwing plastic bottles, bread and vuvuzelas on to the field, venting their frustration when referee Peter Mabuza awarded the Urban Warriors a penalty. About 500 seats on the grandstand were damaged.

Chiefs lost the match 1-0.

The manner in which Mabuza awarded the penalty was questionable. Both sides initially thought he had blown for a goal kick and the players had started moving towards the centre line.

”Many supporters with [whom] we pride ourselves have turned out to be our worst enemies following their display of total disregard for authority, hosts Ajax Cape Town and respect for their own players,” said a statement from Kaizer Chiefs.

Although the behaviour of Chiefs’ supporters should not be condoned, the situation could have been prevented had the ADT personnel acted swiftly.

Philip Masimong, PSL general manager for security, admits that ADT was caught short and that the league should shoulder the blame.

”As it was the league’s job to provide security, ADT presented a plan with a total number of 295 security officials on the match day and I was personally satisfied.

”In terms of the plan that was submitted, prohibited items are read out to the security officials and one has to ensure that they understand it,” said Masimong. ”In the plan 136 officials were going to cover the grandstands and, by the look of things, the plan was good on paper but was not implemented in practice. If we’d had those numbers in the stands, the situation could have been prevented. And if the ADT guys had done their job properly on the gates, the objects that were used as missiles could not have found their way into the stadium.”

Masimong, who started his new job only at the beginning of August, said a lot would change within the PSL to ensure that everyone was safe at the stadiums. ”We needed to have our own security and what happened will not happen again,” he said.

The PSL is waiting for a report from ADT explaining what happened on Saturday night.

Chiefs have also raised concerns about the lack of training of security personnel. ”While we condemn such behaviour, we may not ignore the ineptitude of the security personnel during the match judging from their laxity and inability to intervene at the height of the disturbances.

”Evidence would show that, for most times, the pavilion-based security literally ignored the missile-throwing by standing as observers instead of acting decisively to apprehend or at least show some measure of authority,” said the Chiefs’ statement.

There are also concerns that fans openly smoke dagga at the stadiums.

Efforts to get comment from ADT proved fruitless.

Chiefs appeared before the PSL’s disciplinary committee on Wednesday and were fined R500 000, of which R150 000 is suspended for 12 months and on condition that the club is not found guilty of a similar offence during the period of suspension.

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Lucky Sindane
Guest Author

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