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SuperSport deal safe — Ndebele

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Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) chief executive officer Kenny Ndebele believes hooliganism by fans during Sunday’s Mbada Diamonds Cup final between Dynamos and Motor Action will not negatively affect the imminent partnership between the Premiership and SuperSport International.

The local Premiership is on the verge of entering into a milestone deal with Africa’s leading sports broadcaster. If the deal sails through, it is poised to immensely benefit the local game in terms of revenue and market share.

But Sunday’s acts by some overzealous pitch invaders at the National Sports Stadium had the grim potential of tainting the face of the local game.

With Africa watching the match live on SuperSport 9, pitch invaders easily found their way onto the pitch of the giant stadium during two spells of stoppages by South African referee Daniel Bennett after a torrential downpour.

The unruly fans played cat- and-mouse with police and plainclothes security personnel who were frantically trying to chase them off the pitch.

But the incidents proved to be a spectacle that delighted the crowd which had to endure stoppages of the final.

Ndebele blamed slack security, but expressed his optimism of a bright future with SuperSport.

“I do not think it would affect our chances of entering the deal with SuperSport. But hooliganism by fans is something we need to make sure does not happen again in future,” said Ndebele.

“It is obvious there was a lapse in security. We had 50 policemen and expected them to be more vigilant. I was very disappointed with the way security responded to that situation.

“We will meet as a (PSL) board soon and discuss what happened and then issue a public statement.
“I do not want to talk much about SuperSport, but what happened on Sunday must not happen again.
“Even after a match, fans are not allowed onto the pitch. We are going to work on some of those areas next season,” he said.

The impending deal though has brought out a war between Malawi football agent Felix Sapao, PSL chairman Twine Phiri and Cuthbert Chitima, responsible for development in the league.

Sapao claimed he convened the meeting between SuperSport and the PSL, but indicated he had been ignored by Phiri and Chitima — the two gentlemen he had been dealing with — as they appeared not to be keen to continue their association with him.

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