Johannesburg – The stoning of the Zambian soccer team's bus was condemned by the SA Football Association (Safa) and the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) on Thursday.
Safa president Kirsten Nematandani apologised to his Zambian counterpart, Kalusha Bwalya, and said the relationship between the two countries went beyond soccer.
The stoning of the Zambian soccer team's bus was condemned by the SA Football Association (Safa) and the Africa Cup of Nations. Photo by Lefty Shivambu. Credit: Gallo Images
“Such embarrassing behaviour is alien to the Safa and damages the good name of our association and country. We do not want at any time to be associated with these scoundrels of society,” Nematandani 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.”
Two boys, aged 12 and 13, are expected to appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Thursday on charges of malicious damage to property.
They were arrested on Wednesday night after the Zambian soccer team's bus was stoned after the team beat Bafana Bafana 1-0 at Soccer City, Gauteng police spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila said.
“Police gave chase and two minors were arrested... Investigations continue and police are looking for two other minors who threw stones at the bus outside the stadium. One of the bus windows was shattered in the process.
Malila said the motive for the stone throwing was not known, and reports that the boys were homeless were not true.
“The 12-year-old was later released into the custody of his parents. The 13-year-old was taken to a place of safety as his parents could not be located.”
Afcon 2013 CEO Mvuzo Mbebe said it was an isolated attack and would not affect the Africa Cup of Nations preparations.
“We are disturbed by this incident which is totally an isolated one. South African fans do not behave like this and are known to take defeat in the good spirit,” Mbebe said in a statement.
“This country has hosted numerous international events and we have not experienced such a conduct.”
Malila confirmed Zambia's goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, who plays for the Free State Stars in South Africa, was injured, as he was sitting at the window which was hit.
A Tweet by the Zambian Football Association on Thursday morning read: “Very sad that Zambian bus was stoned and Kennedy Mweene sustained a head injury. Has had stitches and is ok, but the incident was shameful.” – Sapa