Maestro United Zambia Football Club (FC MUZA) wishes to inform its fans, supporters and other relevant stakeholders, at the very outset, that the Club did not cause the abandonment of the MTN/FAZ Super League game, week 30 fixture against Red Arrows Football Club played on Saturday 22nd April, 2023 at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.
The correct position is that our players and coaches were brutally attacked in the tunnel at halftime as they were coming out of the dressing room to go in the pitch for the second half of the game.
The game was locked at one all at the end of the first half with our Club scoring an equalising goal through Andrew Phiri after we had earlier conceded a goal from a corner kick.
During the fracas in the tunnel, our assistant coach Ernest Malambo was badly beaten and, in the process, sustained a swollen wrist and a painful ear.
Additionally, our first-choice goalkeeper, Monga Ndala was splashed or sprinkled with an unknown brownish liquid substance in his eyes and assaulted in the process and he had to be taken to the hospital for medical attention and/or treatment after obtaining a police medical report form, as required by the laws of Zambia.
During the time of this fracas, some of the match officials were actually seeing what was happening as one of them had actually advised Red Arrows FC security personnel who were standing at the entrance of the tunnel, while carrying bottles containing water and an unknown brownish liquid substance, to stop what they were planning to do against our visiting team.
As FC MUZA, we do not want any of our people to make any further comments through social media as the relevant authorities will formally handle this matter as per the established channels.
Our task now is to follow the laid down rules, regulations and procedures in presenting our case to the relevant authorities.
There is no doubt whatsoever that the duty and/or obligation to provide security to the visiting team lies on the host team. We say no further on this age-old self-explanatory aspect.
Suffice to state that the game was abandoned by the match officials for security reasons as both our officials and those from Red Arrows FC were informed in the meeting that was held there.
The match officials indicated to both teams that the game was not going to continue due to security concerns. We wish to make it categorically and unequivocally clear that the atmosphere there was so volatile and not conducive for a beautiful game of football to continue being played and we have got video evidence to prove that as we shall do at the relevant forum and time.
The hosts started abusing and harassing us right from inception when our team Rosa bus just arrived at Nkoloma Stadium, even before kick-off and we wondered why there was such desperation by our colleagues in this single game.
This fracas and commotion first started in the car park upon arrival and our team had to be rescued after the intervention of the match commissioner who addressed our host in our presence.
The most saddening and unfortunate part of this whole scenario is that a well-known senior Red Arrows FC official was seen and heard giving orders to their security personnel to deal with us ruthlessly.
Out of courtesy and respect to this man and in compliance with the principles of natural justice, we shall not mention the name of this Red Arrows official here as it will be unfair and unprofessional to name him when he cannot defend himself through the press.
This official will be accorded an opportunity to defend himself at the right time and at the right forum as per the well-established rules and procedures and the law.
Justice must not only be done but must manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.
We wish to conclude by appealing to our fans, supporters and other relevant stakeholders to remain calm and peaceful as the situation is under control.
As a Club, we have taken all the necessary measures and precautions surrounding this case, including reporting the assault and other possible criminal offences to the police.
We trust and know for a fact that it is not permissible for anyone under the jurisdiction of our Republic to ignore the rule of law and breach the laws of Zambia willy-nilly, and thus commit criminal offences against public interest and then claim to hide and seek protection under the umbrella of football.
Joel S. Kabika
FC MUZA general secretary