Football and security- Are we our own enemies?

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What can best replace my tears- the tears I shed for the young souls long gone before their time, the beautiful mothers whose lives taken right before their children’s eyes, the brave souls- who stood and protected those they loved but for it, rewarded with a few bullets to the head. Will the game ever come close to paying the perfect tribute to the fallen souls by just applauding or observing a minute of silence before every kick off?

We can’t deny it, TERRORISM is a global problem. The biggest threat to security isn’t just going away any soon- we got to fight it. The Westgate incident didn’t just expose our ill prepared security apparatus, it gave us too a food for thought- what if it took place (God Forbid) where I frequent?

You always expected it, you just never saw it coming this way-

“We have decided that there will be no matches played at night until further notice”.

I guess that’s not shocking. For starts, looks like a good action to take in an effort to protect football fans and players alike. But again, must football always be this badly exposed- show me where terrorists ever warned and told time they would strike?

Some hard questions have been asked over the past week, more continue to be asked but one that makes perfect sense is- are we our own terrorists even before the actual ‘gun wielding extremists’ arrive? Allow me speak for what I see at the stadium every match day- young men dressed in suits/luminous jackets meant to provide security at the check points and inside the stadiums.

Are we our own terrorists?

steClub stewards walk past a cloud of teargas during an aborted match in the past

More than often watching them or hearing tales about them scares a fan more than it draws them back to the stadiums. For a small fee of Sh 50, you’ll be allowed into the stadium (ticket-less) and even mostly without being checked.(A plus for some fans who never see the reason for paying for match day tickets, a cartel led by club officials) You need to see when the ‘bosses’ finally arrive, the gate becomes a mess- free for all activity, match stewards dash for the big man’s door ready to walk him into the stadium, gate duties? Gate duties anyone- left for the heavens.

How many ‘would be’ terrorists might have had access to our stadiums every match day unnoticed? But let’s leave that for the moment- have you ever been harassed in a stadium or heard of anyone whose gone through an ordeal like that? Maybe not, but I’d give two recent examples. A Muhoroni Youth players’ mother attacked in the stands for shouting her heart out from the stands. Journalists rounded up by ‘stewards’ and being accused of being in possession of ‘JUJU’. It’s sad both instances involved a top KPL side but cases might have never been exposed to the public eye- or if they did, were killed early, PR matters you know.

“We want club scouts(stewards) to attain certificate of good conduct and be accredited by the federation to be able to continue with their duties”

You and I can be certain this needed to have taken place so many years ago but sadly might and certainly never see the light of day as soon as the dust settles. Anyone can walk into the CID HQ’s and walk home with a Certificate of Good Conduct, accreditation by the federation isn’t a hard thing (grease, grease)- but how do you ascertain they keep the highest standards of delivery?

kkkBeen close to three years since the famous derby day stampede                     (image via CNN)

Football has never fully recovered from the famous ‘DERBY DAY’ stampede, the reactions almost similar in the wake of assault but the end actions always providing a way around the problem not a solution. The game has another chance to get it right when it comes to its own security- is this the time it does?

The main aim of terrorism is to inflict fear on its victims- is football brave enough to carry on even in the face of triumphant (read coward) attackers? I pray the schedule returns, normalcy (of the body and brain) is needed but more than ever- an assuring security, for the good of the sport.

FURTHER READING:

2009 Football & Terrorism: Al-Qaeda Hotel Bombers Targeted Manchester United http://www.nevercaptainnickybutt.com/2009/07/football-terrorism-al-qaeda-hotel.html

Ex-Portsmouth player arrested on terrorism charges http://www.totalfootballmag.com/other-news/world-football/ex-portsmouth-player-arrested-on-terrorism-charges/

“Terrorism wants us to walk on its path, but we will not stop playing football”

http://dawn.com/news/1032532/terrorism-wants-us-to-walk-on-its-path-but-we-will-not-stop-playing-football

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