We have lately witnessed a swelling wave of vandalism and other forms of hooliganism and crime at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam during Mainland premier league and international soccer matches.
All these habits and practices are detestable and therefore ought to be condemned in the strongest terms.
The acts of vandalism have resulted in massive destruction to property and infrastructure at the ultramodern stadium, a rare treasure in this part of the world, calling for frequent maintenance. But why should these awful incidents keep recurring?
It’s high time the stadium authorities devised and implemented appropriate measures to rein in these vandals, preferably through prosecution.
Vandalism is criminal, and those perpetrating it at sports venues and elsewhere must be exposed and pay for their actions.
Measures like the CCTV cameras should be deployed to pin all sports clubs, players, officials, spectators in any way behind acts or behaviour leading to violence and destruction.
The government’s decision to have the repugnant action and behavior attract hefty fines should go a long way towards bringing about a semblance of order and discipline at stadiums in the country.
But the payment of such fines should go alongside ensuring that confirmed culprits also face the full wrath of the law. Law-enforcement organs must be even more vigilant and identify all rowdy elements.
If at least a handful of such anti-social elements are taken to court, that could serve as a deterrent leading to the kind of positive change genuine sports lovers are praying for.
At the beginining it looks an uphill task to apprehend these vandals but we have sufficient Police force strong and competent enough to take care of this situation.
Meanwhile, it is important to appreciate the pivotal role of public education and sensitisation in putting an end to this disgrace, or at least to minimise it.
There is a need to create awareness among the public, particularly those people fond of spending their leisure time participating in events at stadiums, whether it is as players, officials of plain soccer lovers and enthusiasts.
The idea should mot be discouraging love for sports as that could end up turning stadiums into white elephants while also eating into the standard of sports in our country.
Society must see the need to behave more responsibly, including keeping good care of basic infrastructure, equipment and facilities, aware of the many benefits of having world-class sports venues.
It will be a big shame for Tanzania to helplessly look on as vandals wreak havoc on, say, the magnificent Chinese-built stadium in Dar es Salaam hardly five years since it was handed over to the government.
Nowhere in the world is hooliganism in sports applauded or condoned; to the contrary, it is condemned everywhere. This should be a lesson to us all.
The violence we have witnessed in our soccer in recent month should prompt the relevant authorities to move in fast and ensure normalcy resumes before we pay an even higher price as a nation.
We all should join crusades aimed at spreading the message of peace and discipline in sports, otherwise it will not be only our soccer that will fall into disrepute.