Extension Gunners chairman, William Maboane, has come out strongly and apologised to the football fraternity after a stampede that marred their much anticipated clash against Township Rollers at the Molepolole Sports Stadium on Saturday night.
The match was initially scheduled for UB Stadium but when the stadia became unavailable, the Premier League office moved it Molepolole.
Earlier in the day, Notwane played Great North Tigers (GNT) at the same venue and the stadium had to be cleared first before others could be allowed in for the second game.
Both sides settled for a goalless draw in a game many football lovers talked about the whole of last week. But for many supporters, the ugly scenes marred the beauty of the game and left a sour taste.┬á
Many supporters were injured in the stampede after hell broke loose at the entrance and further more on the stands when both sides’ supporters clashed. ┬á
The Molepolole incident has cast doubt about the safety of the local stadiums. ┬áA number of reasons have been attributed to what happened on the night but Maboane said that should be avoided in the future.
“We’re very sorry about what happened on the night and it was sad to see people injured when they were there to see good football. I would like to send my sincere apologies to all football lovers because we depend on them for our football to grow. I would like to wish all those who got injured a speedy recovery,” said Maboane.
Gunners’ boss denied that the situation was caused by the fact that tickets were not sold on time. He said that the problem could have been caused by the use of one entrance.
“We would have liked to have more entrance points but the thing is that we did not get the keys on time. We were told that the person who had the keys to the gates was not available,” added Maboane.
He further said that they were informed very late about the unavailability of UB Stadium and the Premier League had no choice but to move it to Molepolole. ┬á
“The unavailability of the stadiums is putting a strain on Botswana football,” he concluded.
Molepolole Police station commander Andrew Bosilong said that they sent 18 police officers to the game thinking that they would manage the situation. “We look at the fixtures we get from the Premier League office and decide on the manpower. Honestly, we did not anticipate such a huge crowd, especially that the league has just begun,” he said.
Bosilong confirmed on Monday morning that they transported at least 11 people to the Scottish Livingstone Hospital where they were treated for injuries. ┬á
He added that the other person was referred to Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone for further examinations.
“There might have been many people injured but I am giving you the figures of those we took to the hospital,” Bosilong pointed out.
Efforts to get a comment from Premier League general manager, Phuthego Setete and Rollers’ officials hit a snag.
On the social network, a lot of football supporters showed displeasure at what happened on the night of the game and even suggested that football authorities must come out and apologise. Others said that the unavailability of National Stadium and Lobatse Stadiums which have been closed for renovations contributed to the incident.
At the moment, Molepolole Sports Stadium is the only available facility to be used by seven Premier League sides.
BMC have been affected by the closure of Lobatse Stadium and this past Saturday they travelled a long distance to Jwaneng for their home game against Mochudi Centre Chiefs.
In the north, Nico United and FC Satmos are suffering because of the unavailability of Selebi-Phikwe Stadium and they travel to Francistown for their home games.
The rest of the weekend results are as follows;
Police XI 1 (Farasai Nyamunamwendo) Gaborone United 1 (Mandla Mgadla). BDF XI 1 (Mokgathi Mokgathi) ECCO City Greens 4 (Patrick Lenyeletse 2, Malepa Bolelang, Nicholas Matlhare). TAFIC 2 (Tlhagiso Mamono, Anderson Siphambe) FC Satmos 1 (Bokamoso Digwere). Uniao Flamengo Santos 2 (Ofentse Mothibi, Gofaone Tiro) Mogoditshane Fighters 0. BMC 0 Mochudi Centre Chiefs 1 (Joel Mogorosi).
Notwane 4 (Tebogo Sembowa, Letumile Molebatsi, Michael Bulaya, Tshepiso Molwantwa) Great North Tigers 2.