September 12 2009 will forever remain in the memory of the Arsenal fans. Not only did they emphatically go down at the Etihad Stadium against Manchester City, the chief tormentor of the day was one Emmanuel Adebayor whom had been a darling for them in the previous season.
Leaving his studs in on Robin van Persie's face, after a couple of agricultural tackles on Cesc Fabregas and Nicklas Bendtner, Adebayor somehow emerged unpunished to get on the score sheet for the hosts. And when he did, he let everyone know about it – particularly the Arsenal contingent in the Eastlands away end. Adebayor ran the full length of the pitch to slide on his knees in front of his former faithful, and was given predictably short shrift, as well as a hail of whatever some fans had in hand.
Fast forward to 2017 in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL), more of the same scenario occurs at the Moi Stadium-Kisumu on Sunday 2nd July.
A clash between Gor Mahia and Ulinzi Stars is always one of the hotly contested and this one did not disappoint. The 15-time KPL champions took a 2-0 lead only for Stephen Waruru, who is enjoying fine form, netting a double. It is claimed that after the Ulinzi man scored his second, he ran in front of the Gor Mahia fans and showed them his middle finger; the player himself, via a Facebook post denied the claims but admitted he had pulled off his shirt, Messi-escue at the Bernabeu, to celebrate his goal.
Celebrating a Goal
Celebrating a goal is a normal thing in the world of football; celebrating in front of a rival fan an entirely different thing. It depends on how they will take it, in most cases, it has always not been something they take lying down. The average KPL fan will always have a way of replying to celebrations they find insulting. And with the form at which the Green Army are in now, they were not going to take Waruru's celebration lying down.
Hooliganism in football is a profitable enterprise. Those who have tasted it's sweetness are wise enough to keep the anarchy flag flying high. The Kenyan version is the easiest to pull off. All it takes is just two puffs of weed, and the Lord's prayer. Your eyes go bloodshot, the match-steward manning Moi Stadium looks at smoke oozing out of your ears and he remembers he left two kids in the house with no food to come see whether he can nick the gate collections and run to the posho mill. He wants no trouble. He lets you, and your foul-mouth gang, in.
Once inside the Stadium the world is at your feet. That bottle of Kenya Cane you adulterated with rabbit urine will help set you off. #Wasemoke, your gang will declare. Any beautiful girl looking for space on the terraces will have their physical appearance inspected by your gang. The match starts, and woe betide KPL if the assistant referee manning the touchline close is a female official. If you have sat among hooligans in the terraces, you will be convinced that Fuhrer Adolf Hitler is a Saint. Words can kill, the hooligan's tongue is his strongest part of the body.
Three intermittent sips of that stiff adulterated drink makes a hooligan develop wings. The bottle is empty, he throws it in the field of play protesting a referee's decision or a celebration he deems not right. This is a trap. He is inviting the referee to come closer to the shouting arena. Missiles are launched to his direction. He stops the match and runs for cover. The hooligan jumps down in hot pursuit, the police join in with their teargas canisters. It's a stampede, a hooligan's dream scene.
Teardrop banners are gone. Advertising boards are gone. Cars in the stadium parking lot have lost rear-view mirrors, laser lights and windscreens. Part of the gate collection has disappeared. You run to Mega City to get your rear view mirror repaired. You are sold the same one that was nicked off your car moments ago. You blame the system. You swear not to go to the stadium again. But you remember the EABL advert-"there is an US in every TUSKER". You remember your team needs you.