Johannesburg: Two Zambia players were hurt on Wednesday night when the African champions’ team bus was stoned while leaving the showpiece stadium for next year’s Cup of Nations following a friendly win over South Africa.
Goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene needed stitches in his head after the bus windows were shattered by “huge rocks” as the team left Johannesburg’s Soccer City for its hotel, the Football Association of Zambia said yesterday. Midfielder Felix Katongo was also injured.
“Very sad that the Zambian bus was stoned and Kennedy Mweene sustained a head injury,” the FAZ said. “Has had stitches and is OK, but the incident was shameful.”
The South African Football Association told The Associated Press that two boys, aged 12 and 13, had been apprehended outside the stadium after the incident.
“SAFA condemns the incident in the strongest possible terms,” association spokesman Dominic Chimhavi said, adding the youths were in police custody.
Mweene, who plays club football in South Africa, received treatment from team medical staff on the bus. Katongo was thought to have only minor injuries.
Zambia had earlier beaten South Africa 1-0 at the 94,700-capacity Soccer City, the former World Cup venue which will host the opening game and the final at next year’s African Cup.
The stoning completed a troubled night for the African Cup hosts after their disjointed team was outplayed by Zambia on a pitch that was in a poor state following a rock concert.
South Africa coach Gordon Igesund conceded there was much work to do for the host nation’s team ahead of Africa’s top tournament, which kicks off on January 19.
“I’ve had the team for three months, five games and eight training sessions, which is very difficult,” Igesund said. “We are not a team yet.”