VarsityFootball final ends in violence

DITEBOGO TSHAKA
On 28 September UP-Tuks played against Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in the VarsityFootball men’s finals at the TUT stadium.

The game ended with six and a half minutes on the clock when TUT supporters disrupted the match by throwing stones onto the soccer pitch allegedly in an attempt to level the score. Reportedly two people were injured as a result of the violence that erupted.

Riot police were called to the match and shot stun grenades and rubber bullets into the crowd in order to disperse the rioting students.

According to a spectator, UP student Nhlanhla Mthimunye, “[During] the first half everything was fine, everybody was singing. It came to the  second half, everything went well and everyone was having fun. Until it  came to about the last ten  minutes…when we [Tuks] scored the second goal.”

 Mthimunye said that the UP-Tuks supporters were sitting on the top  pavilion of the main stand on the left hand side of the stadium, and the  TUT supporters filled the entire floor beneath the top stand.

“I guess it was the TUT fans who started throwing bottles between the  two stands and I think the Tuks people [threw] them back. I think that  went on for about a minute or less. They then threw bottles onto the  pitch. The referee had to stop things [end the game].”

Mthimunye said, “after that, suddenly… the TUT guys sitting next to the goal post started kicking down the first fence. Then they went to the  second barricade and started kicking that one down. Then they started  kicking the advertisement screens. Things got heated when they started throwing stones onto the field and at Tuks students.”

Another spectator and Perdeby photographer, Stefan Stander, recalls  the incident. “A few people carried another person down [who] looked  unconscious. The ambulance arrived and stones were thrown at it. The  left side window of the ambulance was broken. The police then used an  advertising board to carry the unconscious person to safety.”

A statement released by the office of the vice-chancellor of TUT states that the university condemns the violence that occurred at the game and called the violent behaviour and damage to property “totally unacceptable”.  

    It concludes in saying, “The University will thoroughly investigate the role of our students in this regrettable turn of events and where warranted, the instigators and perpetrators of the violence will face the full consequences of the law and of our University disciplinary process.”

UP-Tuks was crowned the winner of 2017 men’s VarsityFootball season, making the win their third title in five years. 

 

Photos: Stefan Stander

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