15 November 2012

South Africa/Zambia: Safa Condemns Attack On Zambian National Team

Pretoria — The South African Football Association (Safa) has condemned in the strongest terms the attack on the Zambian national team after the Nelson Mandela Challenge match with Bafana Bafana at Soccer City on Wednesday night.

The incident happened as the Zambian team's bus was leaving the stadium, where they beat the home team 1-0.

Media reports said Zambian goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene needed stitches to a cut on his head after being hit by a stone as he boarded the team bus after the match.

Two boys, aged 12 and 13, have been detained for allegedly throwing the stones. Investigations in a case of malicious damage to property have been opened.

Safa said the security provided for the Zambian team was the same high level security that the SAPS and traffic police provide to all visiting teams.

Safa President Kirsten Nematandani, who has since apologised personally to the Zambian Football Association President Kalusha Bwalya, reiterated his disappointment at the incident.

Nematandani said Bwalya understood that the incident was an isolated case, adding that South Africa's relationship with Zambia went beyond the sporting fields.

"South Africa and Zambia have a bond which dates back to the days of apartheid in which most of our fellow South Africans were harboured by our Zambian counterparts.

"Such embarrassing behaviour is alien to 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. 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," he said.

Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) 2013 chief executive officer, Mvuzo Mbebe, also condemned the attack.

However, Mbebe said such isolated incident should not in any way harm the Afcon preparations, which he said were going smoothly.

"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 good spirit," he said.

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