CAF orders probe after stampede kills 8 in Olembe Stadium

CAF President Patrice Motsepe at the press conference

CAF President Patrice Motsepe

By Agency Report

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has ordered a probe into a stampede at Olembe Stadium before an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) match on Monday in Cameroon.

At least eight people died in the stampede at the stadium where hosts Cameroon were to host surprise qualifier Comoros.

CAF president Patrice Motsepe told reporters on Tuesday that an instant investigation is needed and a first report is to be submitted by Friday.

He also said that a quarter-final on Sunday would be moved from Stade d’Olembe, where the crush happened, to another venue in the capital of Yaounde, the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium.

“There is no excuse for what has happened. We must show responsibility when people lose their lives and are injured,” Motsepe said.

“We will have very tough and very hard discussions behind closed doors and I’m confident because of the discussions I had this morning.”

Reports said that apart from the deaths 38 people were injured when a large number of people tried to gain entry into the stadium.

They said that 50,000 people wanted to attend the game, with only 48,000 allowed in owing to coronavirus regulations.

Witnesses said the crush occurred when stewards closed a gate to the arena where Cameroon won 2-1 against Comores.

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“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,” Motsepe said.

He said that many were close to the stadium without tickets and that thousands more than anticipated were at the stadium.

“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,” the CAF official said.

He added that a silence of one minute would be observed before all remaining matches.

Cameroon’s national team said in a statement they “extend their heart-felt condolences” to the families of the victims.

The statement by captain Aboubakar Vincent on behalf of the squad and staff also appealed to the local fans to be “highly disciplined and responsible within and outside the stadiums.”

World governing body FIFA said it “sends its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following the tragic incident.

“The thoughts and prayers of the global football community are with the victims and 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,” FIFA said.

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