SSFA demands probe into Aweil, Pibor football match violence

SSFA demands probe into Aweil, Pibor football match violence
Rowdy football fans caused untold amount of destruction at the Martyr Peace Tournament in a final match between Pibor and Aweil North.

The Spokesperson of the South Sudan Football Association (SSFA), Albino Kuek, has urged the organising committee of the Martyrs tournament to investigate Sunday’s violence at Bulluk playing ground.

On Sunday, violence broke out during the football match between teams drawn from Aweil North and Pibor after fans from Aweil stormed the pitch.

The fans went on a rampage, breaking chairs as every spectator, including fans from Pibor, ran for their lives.

In a statement released yesterday, the SSFA denied any responsibility for the tournament.

“The community tournament is managed directly by the communities, we only assist technically, like by providing referees and providing facilities like a playground,” Kuek said.

“What happened was violence from the fans, and we believe the committee has to sit down and form an investigation against the individual who incited the violence,” he added.

However, the former Press Secretary in the Office of the President, Ateny Wek Ateny, wrote on his Facebook page explaining what transpired on the field that led to the match cancellation.

Ateny alleged that the Pibor team scored first before Awiel North equalized, and the beautiful match degenerated into a melee in the dying minutes of the game when Pibor scored a second in the second half.

“The first half ended professionally 1-1 for Aweil North FC and Pibor FC, to the delight of the guests and football fans from both sides,” he stated.

“The Pibor FC scored 3 minutes into full time. I was excited either way. Then, the hell broke, for me, I knew the Aweil North FC boys lost and the cup was going to go to Pibor,” Ateny added.

He narrated that the fans from Pibor decided to storm the pitch in an attempt to celebrate their wins, and the celebration should have taken less than a minute.

“The celebration took longer, which was seen by Aweil North FC’s fans as an affront to their integrity,” Ateny claimed.

He said the fans from Awiel North viewed the last goal as a handball that should have been disallowed as done in normal circumstances.

“The entire Aweil Community in Juba broke to the football field and the rains of stones started pouring on us. We weren’t harmed. We were evacuated, together with the Minister of Youth – thanks to our able bodyguards who flanked our cars, in case there was to be a gunshot. Nobody is fully certain as to whose stones were raining.”

When contacted, the South Sudan Deputy Police Spokesperson, Brigadier Gen. James Dak said one person has been arrested and the investigation is ongoing.

“There were minor injuries but the case is open and the one who wanted to fight the referee is arrested,” he said.

“Referee was attacked and he had to run for his life but the law enforcement agent intervenes and the match was called off,” Dak stated.