On Sunday, Sierra Leone faced off against Liberia in the second leg of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. The match took place in front of a vibrant crowd in Sierre Leone’s capital city, Freetown. After Kei Kamara scored the first goal of the match and put the team in the lead, hopes were high that Sierra Leone would win on home soil. However, the game came down to penalties and when the captain of Sierra Leone’s national team and FC Zürich midfielder, Umaru Bangura, went in for the winning shot, Liberia’s goalkeeper, Ashley Williams, made an impressive save and the talented 18-year-old ultimately took Liberia through to the group phase of the qualifiers.
In any competitive sport, there has to be a winner and a loser. However, in spite of that knowledge, soccer fans especially have been known to take their frustrations out on soccer stadiums, the fans of other teams and sometimes the players on the team they’re rooting for.
Following Sierra Leone’s loss to Liberia, fans took to Bangura’s home in Freetown and pelted it with stones, leaving it badly damaged. It is also reported that there is now a song (mocking the player’s penalty miss) doing the rounds on the country’s airwaves. Had the player scored successively in the 95th minute, Sierra Leone would have tied 3-3 in terms of their aggregate scoreline and advanced to the next stage based on away goals.
Speaking to the BBC, Bangura said that, “[It was] one of the worst days of my life. I can’t even go outside because I didn’t expect this kind of hostility towards me.” The player also added that, “I did my job by stepping up as the captain to take the spot kick. I am really disappointed. But at the same time I wish to say sorry [and] beg for their forgiveness.”