Residents of Chawama constituency in Lusaka on Wednesday fought running battles with PF thugs who wanted to demarcate a football pitch into residential plots to share among themselves.
Kuku football ground caretaker Wilson Katenge confirmed in an interview with the Daily Nation that the thugs arrived at the pitch around midday and started demarcating the pitch to share among themselves but were met by furious residents from the surrounding areas.
The armed PF thugs apparently tried to scare the residents who in turn mobilised themselves and stood their ground and vowed to fight back in order to save the only sports recreational facility in the compound.
The decision by the residents to fight the PF cadres angered the armed thugs who tried to attack the residents from different angles but were eventually outnumbered and forced to flee leaving behind an assortment of weapons.
“The cadres ran away after they realised that the residents had mobilised themselves and were outnumbering them. They had already started staking the beacons when some residents signalled to ambush them.
“After realising that the situation they had created was turning against them, the PF thugs ran back to their parked van as the residents ran after them throwing stones and other weapons as the thugs drove off,” he said.
Mr. Katenge has since appealed to Minister of Sports Chishimba Kabwili to come to their aid of the residents and protect the football pitch from the PF thugs who were intent on grabbing and sharing the land adding that the pitch has produced many renowned soccer stars some of whom once featured for the Chipolopolo National Soccer Team.
He urged Zambians to seek community corroboration systems to respond to the increased lawlessness by the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) thugs in illegal land allocations since the Police have failed to control them.
The residents have however vowed to continue protecting the sports ground which has existed since 1967.
Mr. Katenge said the football pitch in Kuku Compound was home to Lewis Football club which is registered as a Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) division three side.
“This community ground was home to former FAZ division three side Lewis football club which got disbanded due to financial constraints early in the 90’s,and the title deeds are now in the hands of the community,” he said.
Some notable players Kuku clubs has groomed are late Derby Makinka who died in the Gabon air disaster, AfCON 94 runner-up goal keeper late James Phiri and former Israel based national team striker Chaswe Nsofwa.
Others are Power Dynamo’s Kennedy Mudenda and Angolan based professional Ephraim Banda who was also groomed at these clubs before they joined top clubs in the country.
Mr. Katenge said some teams were using the pitch for talent identification programmes while several teenagers in the community but playing for various football academies used the pitch as a training ground.