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Fans attack Sierra Leone player’s house after penalty miss

Angry fans of Sierra Leone’s national football team have attacked a player’s house after he missed a decisive penalty.

Sierra Leone
Umaru Bangura, who also plays for FC Zürich, saw his crucial penalty saved on Sunday. PHOTO: Getty Images

Captain Umaru Bangura failed to convert a stoppage-time spot-kick in front of a huge crowd on Sunday.

It meant Sierra Leone failed to get through to the next stage of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Liberia qualified, winning the tie 3-2 on aggregate. After the game fans pelted Bangura’s home with stones.

The windows and doors of his residence in the capital, Freetown, were left badly damaged. A song has even been released mocking his penalty miss.

“[It was] one of the worst days of my life,” Bangura told the BBC on Monday while holed-up in his bedroom. “I can’t even go outside because I didn’t expect this kind of hostility towards me.

“I did my job by stepping up as the captain to take the spot-kick,” he added. “I am really disappointed. But at the same time, I wish to say sorry [and] beg for their forgiveness.”

Had Bangura scored, Sierra Leone would have levelled the two-legged tie 3-3 and gone through to the next stage on away goals.

Red Cross staff also came under attack outside the stadium after they were accused of whisking Bangura away from fans, the BBC’s Umaru Fofana says.

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Four Red Cross volunteers were injured in the unrest. People also threw stones at their marked ambulances, which were later pictured with smashed windows.

“I was really disappointed with the Sierra Leoneans,” the country’s sports minister, Ibrahim Nyelenkeh, told the BBC.

“Some disgruntled hoodlums went to [Bangura’s] house and pelted stones at it,” he said. “It is not good for the game. He is our captain [and] football is a game of chance.”

Mr Nyelenkeh added: “[Hooliganism] is becoming unprecedented. I think measures should be put in place to combat it.”

Source: BBC Africa

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