FOUNDER and chairman of the MAP Games Maimane Phiri has vowed to enhance security and ensure that his winter annual tournament remains a safe family affair.
As a safety measure, a match had to be abandoned when a dangerous and volatile situation brewed this past Sunday.
The last-16 match between Mamba 11 and Newcastle Home Boys – which was called off in the 75th minute – will now be played on Saturday.
The score was 1-1 when the situation at the Rotary Grounds turned a bit ugly due to some unruly behaviour from some spectators.
A decision was taken by the game’s local organising committe (LOC) that the match will continue from where it ended – this Saturday at the Rotary Ground A – and kick-off will be at 8am.
The match will resume from the 75th minute, with the same players who were on the field when the match was abandoned.
The organisers are standing firm that the red card, which caused all the agitation, will stand.
“We will beef up security and also seek support from the police. It’s difficult to say no to beer bottles because it’s an open field – unlike at a stadium where it can be controlled. We still want people to bring their kids and female partners, as it has been the case for almost 20 years. We cannot afford to lose even one supporter,” said Phiri.
“We started these games in 2001 and we have never experience such scenes.
“It was a wake up call and security measures will be put in our plans. I am happy that no one got injured or hurt.”
Phiri said that supporters and clubs who are part of the tournament must be reminded that rules are rules, and that referees will not be changed to please fans and complainants.
“If we do that we will be setting a bad precedent. Everyone is going to start complaining and we will be killing the competitive spirit of the tournament.
“Those fans who were rowdy are the MAP Games supporters – and they have supported us for many years. We urge and appeal to all who attend the games (as players or spectators) to respect the next person, to be at their best behaviour and try by all means to keep their emotions in check,” added Phiri.