SASoccer365 Journalist Shahied Joseph spent Saturday afternoon watching the Coca Cola Cup clash between Santos and Kaizer Chiefs and was not entirely happy with the state of affairs at the Athlone Stadium...
Putco Mafani, the Kaizer Chiefs PRO, proclaimed before the Coca Cola Cup game that Chiefs supporters would fill the Athlone Stadium, and indeed the stadium was filled to capacity well before kick-off.
Barbed wire, at least three meters high, surrounded the turnstiles to enter the stadium. One can only imagine that this measure was put in place to 'control' the masses that came to see their heroes in action, although a passer-by suggested that it looked like a scene from Sarafina, the story about a young lady's struggle against apartheid during 1976.
No crowd violence has been cited at the Athlone Stadium in recent times, so why are these security measures used when Chiefs come to town?
The security personnel were highly visible and vigilant in their procedures too, they even went as far as smelling the contents inside Coca Cola bottles to check if it was the real thing or if there was any liquor inside - those found guilty of having something other than cold drinks were turned away and requested to come back when the contents were finished.
During half time the scenes were similar to that of a riot - security and police were engaging in arguments with spectators who wanted to leave the grounds to get snacks as the refreshment stands were packed, while others wanted to use the parking lots outside as make-shift urinals as the stadium's toilets were packed - people were even seen on the staircases making it an ablution with their waste.
The debates between security officials and spectators were heated but fortunately brute force was not used during the debacle, however, Saturday's spectacle is certainly not good for South African football considering that we are bidding for the World Cup in 2010.
Have you, the reader, experienced any similar problems at other stadiums around the country? E-mail us from the link below...