Chaos as rowdy fans disrupt Maulid cup finals in Lamu

Pilgrims during the 2016 Lamu Maulid Festival. PHOTO: COURTESY.

Lamu, KENYA: Police in Lamu town were on Wednesday evening forced to launch tear gas canisters to disperse rowdy football fans who went rogue after their team was beaten during the Maulid Cup finals.

The football match is part of the annual four day Maulid festival which is marked by a section of Muslims in remembrance of the birth of prophet Mohamed (S.A.W) in the holy city of Mecca in 570AD.

The match was between Monaco FC and Deep Sea clubs and was played at the Twaif Grounds in Lamu town and was sponsored by the Islamic Trust Fund Organization.

Trouble began after the referee Mohamed Hamza blew the final whistle that accorded Deep Sea FC a 4-1 win against Monaco FC, something that obviously didn’t go down well with supporters of the losing club who trooped into the playground and began harassing the referee.

It’s at this time that police were forced to intervene and throw teargas canisters to disperse the visibly agitated fans.

The situation elicited tension and fear among other guests who had turned up to witness the match among them the major sponsors of the Maulid Cup that initially had 24 clubs vying for the top position.

It took about half an hour for police to contain the situation remove all the raging fans from the field.

The referee was later escorted out under tight security.

The Football Kenya Federation-FKF South Coast branch chair Fuad Ali condemned the incident saying it was shameful and painted the festival and football history in the region in a bad light as it had never happened before.

He said together with FKF Lamu, they would ensure extreme disciplinary measures are taken against those who started the fracas.

“Football is a game that requires discipline from both players and fans. People need to understand that in any given match, there must be a winner and a loser. We won’t allow such incidents here since they could escalate to something else. It’s very shameful,” said Ali.