Fierce rivals St. George and Ethiopia Buna will face each other on Sunday. The game, labeled Sheger Derby, has been the biggest Derby in Ethiopia for many years. The two teams usually fight for the league title and have a very large fan base. However, recent games between the two have led to chaos and hooliganism. The recent clash between the fans was the reason the sits at ‘Katanga’ were dismantled. Even stadium equipments can be turned into a lethal weapon when they fall into the wrong hands.
This weekend’s game will kick off at 4:00 PM local time. Fans will be expected to start lining up for tickets starting from dawn, as they have been doing for many years.
Unfortunately rather than the excitement that comes along with a big game, many people are concerned that recent fan troubles may reach climatic stage on Sunday. Last week there were clashes in the city of Woldia between Woldia Kenema and Mekele Kenema fans. There was a reported death of one fan from each side as a result of these troubles. What makes these problems more alarming is the reason behind is not entirely football related.
In a discussion program organized by EBC, renowned football journalist Mensur Abdulkeni tried to explain the meaning and root causes of hooliganism. He stated that fans can displace their social and political issues on to the football arena. These acts will lead to more injuries if left unaddressed.
This past week representatives of St. George and Bunna fans have been organizing meetings in order to prevent troubles that may arise on Sunday. Speaking to Bisrat Sport on 101.1 on Friday, a representative of St. George fans by the name of Israel said that they plan to have 6 fans from each group sit alongside rival fans and display a banner which calls for peace. There is also an idea about making the players stand alternatively and sing the Ethiopian national anthem before the game. This really is an admirable act and we hope to see more of this from other fans as well. Bunna and St. George fans are trying to set a good example and Soccer Ethiopia applauds that.
Diverting back into the actual game, Bunna’s impressive start to the league campaign was halted by Welwalo Adigrat University. The newly promoted side recorded a 1-0 win with former Bunna striker Mulualem Tilahun grabbing the lone goal with a back heel. Welwalo have now overtaken Bunna to top the league.
St. George are heading in to the game after their win on Monday against Electric. The record champions were clinical in taking their chances and came away with a 3-1 win.
International Arbiter Beamlak Tessema is going to be the referee for this game.
Enjoy the game, Support your team and Stay safe!