Top of the Premier League table clash between Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs nearly experienced a stampede as the smaller University of Botswana (UB) Stadium was full to the brim.
Many more soccer fans holding what appeared to be valid tickets waited outside unable to enter the stadium.
Other supporters lost their patience and gained entrance by jumping over the walls of the stadium because the match was already underway. Officially, nine thousand tickets were sold for the match and where others came from remains a mystery.
The spokesperson of Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Clifford Mogomotsi, pointed his finger at Rollers, saying they were responsible for the near stampede.
He told The Telegraph Sport that they long requested Rollers to move the match to an open Stadium like Lobatse.
“We looked at the interest the match generated because both teams are in top form. There was also animosity between the two teams over players and as such many supporters of the two teams had keen interest in watching the match. We asked Rollers to move the match to Lobatse but they refused and look at what nearly happened. At first Rollers wanted the game played at night and imagine the catastrophe that would have happened,” he said. Mogomotsi also added that if precautionary measures cannot be taken in future matches between the two teams, a terrible stampede would occur and many supporters would in turn lose their lives.
On the other hand, Rollers spokesperson, Kaizer Sekaba, hit back at Mogomotsi’s statement, saying they cannot be forced to move the match to any venue. He added that the match was long planned to be played at UB Stadium and as such it cannot be easily moved because there are logistics involved.
“When Chiefs hosts matches against us, we never move them around to take the matches to places we like and they should not do that to us. UB Stadium was the most suitable place for the match and it was unfortunate people exceeded the capacity of the stadium,” he said.
Sekaba also added that there was foul play regarding the tickets of the match. He emphasized that some tickets for the match were faked and they managed to identify some suspects.
“Definitely, some fake tickets were sold before the match and this has led us to think twice by releasing the tickets early for future matches. The tickets for the match long finished on Friday morning and that gave some people time to fake them and that’s not good for our football,” he said.
Chiefs ended up winning the match 3-2 to revive their hopes of winning the league.