A crush outside a Cameroon stadium where the host nation qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) quarter-finals on Monday left at least eight people dead and more than 40 injured, according to the Central African nation’s national broadcaster.
Video footage showed football fans struggling to get access to the Paul Biya stadium in a neighbourhood of the capital Yaounde. One child is among the death according to the ministry report obtained by tha AFP news agency.
Crowds attempted to enter the Yaounde Olembe stadium in the capital Yaounde to watch Cameroon beat Comoros 2-1 in Africa’s top football tournament. While the stadium’s capacity of 60,000 was limited to 60 percent because of the coronavirus, the cap is 80 percent for matches involving the national team.
“A crush at the entrance to the Olembe Stadium” caused “half a dozen deaths and dozens have been injured”, reported Cameroon’s state broadcaster CRTV. Following a low turnout in the first round games at brand new stadiums built for the continent’s premier men’s soccer tournament, Cameroon authorities have thrown open stadium gates, organized mass transport, and given out free tickets to lure fans.
Over the years, overcrowding at football matches has resulted in hundreds of deaths around the world. In 2015, thousands of fans in Cairo attempted to enter a stadium in the Egyptian capital to watch a game, triggering panic as police fired tear gas and bird-shot. The chaos led to the death of 40 people and dozens were injured.
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