Sport Soccer

Saturday 25 November 2017

African football: A litany of violence and stampedes ... and innocent lives lost

SERIOUS crowd violence following an Egyptian league match between Al Masry and Al-Ahly has left at least 73 people dead and up to one thousand injured and brought about a suspension of all professional leagues in the country.

The incident is the latest in a rash of stadium disasters to hit Africa since the turn of the century:

- Zimbabwe, July 9, 2000 - Tear gas was fired by police and 13 supporters died amid unrest at the Harare National Stadium during an international match between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

- South Africa, April 11, 2001 - Mass overcrowding at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg at a derby match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates led to 43 people being crushed to death. Some reports suggested as many as 120,000 people were admitted into a stadium which, at the time, had an official capacity of 60,000. The stadium was later renovated for use at the 2010 World Cup.

- Ghana, May 9, 2001 - Police fired tear gas into the crowd after unrest at a match between Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko at the Accra Sports Stadium resulting in mass panic and a stampede. The incident resulted in the deaths of 127 people, making it the worst disaster of its kind in Africa.

- Democratic Republic of Congo, April 30, 2001 - Fourteen people were killed during a stampede at a match between Lupopo and Mazembe.

- Zambia, June 3, 2007 - Twelve fans were killed in crushes at the end of Zambia's win over DR Congo in Lusaka. It came 11 years after a similar incident in the city in which nine died.

- Ivory Coast, March 29, 2009 - A wall collapsed at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny before the start of a World Cup qualifier between Ivory Coast and and Malawi. The incident left a reported 22 people dead and more than 100 injured - but the match was allowed to go ahead with the Ivorians winning 5-0. Officials blamed a stampede of ticketless fans at the 45,000-capacity stadium.

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