A house belonging to the family of Zambia striker Alex Ng’onga was stoned by vandals on Saturday night, following Chipolopolo’s 1-0 loss to Nigeria in a crucial 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.
Chipolopolo put up a brave display in Uyo before Nigeria substitute Alex Iwobi delivered a second-half sucker punch, with defeat ending any faint hopes for a debut World Cup appearance on the part of Wedson Nyirenda’s team.
It was after the feisty contest that some assailants threw stones at the Ng’onga family home, according to remarks by Zambian police carried in the Lusaka Times and several other local publications.
“A case of malicious damage to property was reported to Chimwemwe Police Post by Madam Charity Sakanya, mother to Mr Alex Ng’onga a national team player,” said Copperbelt Police Commissioner Charity Katanga.
“Unknown people in a white Toyota land cruiser threw stones at her house and insulted her because her son failed to score for the national team.”
Ironically, the attack occurred after a match which showcased Zambia’s strength in depth in the offensive positions, with the 25-year-old Ng’onga himself impressing after starting ahead of Orlando Pirates’ new signing Justin Shonga.
Zambia’s build up to the encounter had been marred by concerns over the fitness of first-choice attackers Brian Mwila and Patson Daka. While Daka recovered soon enough to make the bench in Uyo, Mwila was ruled out of the tie completely.
Of the front three who starred in the 3-1 demolition of Algeria last month therefore, only Russia-based starlet Fashion Sakala was on the pitch in Nigeria.
Yet there were few signs of incapacitation as Chipolopolo took the fight to the hosts in the opening half, and they could well have gone to the breather in the lead but for a contentious offside call for Augustine Mulenga’s 31st-minute effort.
Young Austria-based midfielder Enock Mwepu ran himself to a standstill in midfield, but perhaps the big surprise was the Chipolopolo defence, which managed to keep the fearsome Nigerian attackers at bay until late in the second-half.
Zambia are at home to Cameroon for their final match of the campaign later next month.