Tue 25 January 2022 | 15:51

AFCON's QF moved from Olembe Stadium after 8 people killed in swarm

In the wake of the fatal stampede at Olembe Stadium on Monday, the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final on Sunday has been relocated to Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium.

According to reports, a swarm of supporters outside Olembe Stadium, which was holding the last-16 match between hosts Cameroon and Comoros, wounded 38 people. 

Cameroon's central region governor, Naseri Paul Biya, predicted the casualties might rise further. 

The crush occurred when masses fought for entrance to the ground in Yaounde, Cameroon's capital.

Olembe Stadium

was supposed to host the last-eight matchup between the winners of Ivory Coast vs. Egypt and Morocco vs. Malawi, but Confederation of African Football president Patrice Motsepe asked for an urgent inquiry during a news conference on Tuesday. 

He said:

"We have to make sure the safety of every single spectator is our primary concern. There is zero tolerance on circumstances which could result in people being injured at the stadium or losing their lives.

"We have to take emergency and urgent steps now, so I have called a meeting tomorrow and I've also sought the guidance and advice of my vice-presidents. I need a report on what happened, the circumstances that led to people being injured and emergency measures to make sure that doesn't happen again. We have to take collective responsibility.

"There must be a committee set up to immediately investigate what happened and find out who did not perform their responsibilities. We want that report by Friday.

"The game that is scheduled for Olembe Stadium on Sunday is not going to take place. It's going to take place at Ahmadou Ahidjo."

Spectators are seen assaulting the stadium gates in videos posted on social media, while photographs show fans lying injured on the floor. 

According to witnesses inside the stadium, children were among those swept up in the crush, which occurred when stadium officials locked the gates and halted letting people in.

Motesepe said:

"Some of the people came just to be part of the atmosphere. Including those who didn't have tickets, so I think we do accept that thousands of people more than what was expected did arrive. Having said that, we will have very tough and very hard discussions behind closed doors and I'm confident because of the discussions I had this morning.

"What happened yesterday in terms of the proximity of people being allowed to the stadium in a manner that is not properly coordinated and governed will never happen again. I went to see where the people lost their lives and you see it's a gate. That gate was supposed to be open. Because if it was open, they would have walked through and it was closed for inexplicable reasons."

Officials estimated about 50,000 people attempted to attend the game. The venue has a capacity of 60,000 people, but owing to crowd size limits imposed by the coronavirus epidemic, it was not expected to be more than 80% filled during the game. 

The tournament's opening ceremony was held in the Yaounde Olembe Stadium, which was constructed in anticipation of the postponed competition, which began earlier this month. 

For the first time in 50 years, Cameroon is holding the African Football Confederation (AFCON). It was supposed to host the competition in 2019, but it was moved to Egypt that year due to significant worries about Cameroon's preparations, notably the stadiums' condition.

One of the locations under scrutiny was the Yaounde Olembe Stadium. It will host three more games, including the final on February 6, and is the primary venue for the month-long competition. 

After a 2-1 victory on Monday night, Cameroon advanced to the quarter-finals.

Confederation of African Football statement

"CAF is aware of the incident that took place at Olembe Stadium during the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations fixture between hosts Cameroon and Comoros tonight, January 24, 2022.

"CAF is currently investigating the situation and trying to get more details on what transpired. We are in constant communication with Cameroon government and the Local Organizing Committee.

"Tonight, the CAF President Dr. Patrice Motsepe sent the General Secretary, Veron Mosengo-Omba, to visit the supporters in hospital in Yaounde."

FIFA statement

"FIFA sends its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following the tragic incident that took place at Olembe Stadium during the Africa Cup of Nations fixture between Cameroon and Comoros.

"The thoughts and prayers of the global football community are with the victims, the ones who have been injured in this incident, and all the staff of both CAF and the Cameroonian Football Association (FECAFOOT) at this difficult moment."




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source: SportMob

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