Malawi football fans can learn something from their counterparts in Zambia, where football dominates every sphere of life, that even President Edgar Lungu witnesses local league matches.
As long as the name of the sport is football and the team involved is Zambia, fans come in large numbers to render their unwavering support.
Such was the case on Wednesday when the home fans thronged Arthur Davies Stadium where Zambia dated Uganda in a Group A match of the Cosafa Junior Championship, which the hosts lost 2-0.
By any measure, Zambia, featuring Sweden-based Edward Chilufya and top striker, Lameck Banda, were second best to the East African guests who won courtesy of Shaban Muhamad’s double.
One of the fans could not just take it. He threw a water bottle onto the pitch to attract the attention of Cosafa officials, including Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Suzgo Nyirenda, who left his seat and entered the pitch to have a better view of the direction where the naughty fan sat.
Being Malawian, Nyirenda perhaps thought the fan would incite more supporters into throwing bottles onto the pitch as is usually the case in Malawi.
It never happened. Instead, fellow fans grabbed the naughty man in the terraces and dragged him to police officers.
A Zambia Football Association official said they, before such tournaments and indeed local games, civic-educate fans on the need to desist from violence.
“You cannot throw anything on the pitch. The fans police each other because they know that a game can be halted due to fan trouble and the association gets fined,” said the official.
Issues of hooliganism are one of the biggest problems in Malawi football, forcing Football Association of Malawi and Super League of Malawi to punish teams with fines and banning some fans from watching matches.