By Heba Girgis
Impunity Watch Reporter, Africa
LUSAKA, Zambia—Two Zambia soccer players were injured when the African champion’s team bus was stoned late last night by two young individuals. The team’s goalkeeper, Kennedy Mweene’s injuries required stitches in his head after the bus windows shattered. The team was leaving Johannesburg for its hotel when the bus was attacked. Felix Katongo, a midfielder, was also injured.
The Football Association of Zambia said that it was “very sad that the Zambian bus was stoned and Kennedy Mweene sustained a head injury.” The Association also noted that he “has had stitches and is okay, but the incident was shameful.” The investigators are still looking for other minors who also engaged in this attack, throwing stones outside of the stadium and breaking several windows.
On the other side of the story, the South Africa Football Association told the press that two boys, ages 12 and 13, were apprehended just outside of the soccer stadium immediately after the stoning. The South African Football Association spokesman Dominic Chimhavi said “SAFA (the Association) condemns the incident in the strongest possible terms.” He also added that the youths were in police custody and that a case for “malicious damage to property” has just been opened.
This incident comes at a difficult time as South Africa is set to host the Africa Cup of Nations next year from January 19 through the 10th of February. The stoning also came after a match that was played in honor of the former president Nelson Mandela. Chimhavi reflecting on this said that these people are not welcome in South Africa’s stadiums.
Another SAFA spokesperson also said, “such people do not belong to the football family and once the investigations have been concluded, the police should send out a strong message against future perpetrators. People come to the games with their families and this behavior is not acceptable.”
The country has hosted a number of international events and has not experienced such conduct in the past.
For further information, please see:
BBC Sport – Two Zambian Players Injured After Attack on Team Bus – 15 November 2012
Fox Soccer – Two Zambia Players Injured in South Africa – 15 November 2012
IOL Sport – SAFA Condemn Zambia Bus Attack – 15 November 2012
Mail & Guardian – Boys Who Stoned Zambian Soccer Team’s Bus Released – 15 November 2012