Gary Lineker reveals his terrified son, 26, was brutally robbed when 60 fans attacked him and ripped his clothes off in a tunnel during a riot while he was filming a football match in Africa
- Gary Lineker said his son Harry was attacked during a football riot in Africa
- 26-year-old was filming a World Cup qualifier between Sierra Leone and Liberia
- Fans rioted as Libera went through to group phase of 2022 World Cup qualifiers
- They stormed the pitch hurling rocks as Harry was filming behind the scenes
Gary Lineker has revealed how his son was ‘nearly lost his life’ in a football riot
Gary Lineker has revealed how his son was ‘nearly lost his life’ in a football riot in Africa at the weekend.
The former England footballer revealed his son Harry, who was filming a World Cup qualifier between Sierra Leone and Liberia, was attacked when fans stormed the pitch.
Lineker said the ‘terrified’ 26-year-old was beaten by around 60 fans who ripped his clothes off and stole his phone and belongings when furious fans ‘kicked off’ after Libera went through to the group phase of the 2022 World Cup qualifier.
Liberia won the first leg of match 3-1, and with Sierra Leone winning the game 1-0 on Sunday they only needed one more goal to go through on away goals.
Sierra Leone captain Umaru Bangura, however, missed a penalty in injury time, with fans storming the pitch and hurling rocks as Libera went through to the group phase of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
Speaking on his Behind Closed Doors podcast with Danny Baker today the Match of the Day host said his son, who normally produces the podcast – was ‘terrified’.
He said: ‘You know my Harry, who is obviously our producer on our podcast is not here.
‘Well, he’s been in Africa filming in Sierra Leone, he’s been there a few days doing a bit of work around the FIFA match between Sierra Leone and Liberia.
‘Liberia won the first leg 3-1 and then it was played at Sierra Leone and they were there filming behind the scenes, in the dressing rooms, with all the fans.
‘Well, my Harry nearly lost his life – it was a bit of a scary moment.’
He added: ‘Sierra Leone got a goal and they need one more to go through on away goals and they had a penalty in last minute and the fella missed it and it kicked off – there were riots, it went bonkers, they were attacking the pitch, throwing rocks.
‘Harry was with the camera guy and a fixer and (after) the mass invasion they got split, and Harry was on his own and he’s running and he thinks ‘I’ll take cover in the tunnel’.
‘So he gets into the tunnel and then all the fans come in – there’s 50 or 60 of them and he gets attacked.
‘They were ripping his clothes off, they’ve taken his phone and everything out of his pockets – he only had his fags, being a silly smoker, typical Harry, and he was terrified – genuinely terrified.’
The England legend – who netted 48 goals for the Three Lions – added: ‘He thought he saw a blade and thought he was going to get knifed.
‘There was an armed guard with a shield and he was shielding people off so he (Harry) dived behind the shield and he said he was there for quite a while and this guy saved him thankfully and got him into a room.
‘I learned about that last night and spent half the night awake – he’s alright, he’s on his way home. It was the last day filming, he’s fine – I don’t want to be a drama queen.’
He added: ‘It just shows you the fragility of your children – and I just suddenly thought to myself ‘God, if that call had been slightly different’.
‘He’s alright – he didn’t have his phone, so he Facetimed me off his laptop when he eventually got back to his hotel and said ‘Dad I’m alright, it terrified me, but I’m ok.’
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