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African Cup of Nations: At Least Six People Dead In Stampede Outside Football Game In Cameroon

Officials said around 50,000 people tried to attend the match at the Olembe Stadium. A local hospital said at least 40 people had been injured.

At least six people were killed in a stampede outside the stadium in an African Cup of Nations football game in Cameroon, officials have said.

The stampede happened as crowds struggled to gain access to Olembe Stadium in the capital, Yaounde, to watch the host nation play Comoros in a last 16 knockout match.

A regional governor, Naseri Paul Biya, said there could be more casualties, as a hospital in the area reported at least 40 had been injured in the stampede.

Comoros' goalkeeper Chaker Alhadhur, left, fails to stop a goal shot from Cameroon's Vincent Aboubakar, far right, during the African Cup of Nations 2022 round of 16 soccer match between Cameroon and Comoros at the Olembe stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

“Some of the injured are in desperate condition,” said Olinga Prudence, a nurse.

“We will have to evacuate them to a specialised hospital.”

Officials said about 50,000 people had tried to attend the match.

The stadium has a capacity of 60,000 but it was not meant to be more than 80% full due to COVID restrictions.

President of Confederation of African Football to visit supporters

In a statement, the Confederation of African Football said that it is “aware of the incident” at the Olembe Stadium and are “trying to get more details on what transpired”.

“We are in constant communication with Cameroon government and the local organising committee,” CAF said.

“Tonight, the CAF President Dr Patrice Motsepe sent the general secretary, Veron Mosengo-Omba, to visit the supporters in hospital in Yaoundé.”

In a tweet Cameroon’s Minister of Public Health, Manaouda Malachie said: “I have just visited the hospitals that received the victims of today’s incident at the Olembé Stadium, to show them all the compassion of the Presidential Couple. Everything is in place for their free care and optimal support. Stay strong!”

Premier League club Everton paid tribute to those who lost their lives outside the stadium.

In a tweet, the club wrote: “The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Everton are with the families of those fans who have lost their lives and anyone affected by the tragic events at today’s #AFCON2021 match between Cameroon and Comoros in Yaounde. RIP.”

Tight match overshadowed by off-the-pitch incident

On the pitch, Cameroon won the game 2-1 to reach the quarter-finals.

Strikers Karl Toko Ekambi and Vincent Aboubakar had given Cameroon the lead by the 70th minute against the tournament newcomers, who are ranked 132nd in the world and played with a defender in goal due to a coronavirus outbreak in the squad.

Comoros also had to cope with playing most of the match with 10 men after Jimmy Abdou was sent off in the seventh minute for stepping on the back of Moumi Ngamaleu’s ankle.

But Comoros midfielder Youssouf M’Changama gave his side hope, scoring from a free-kick from 30 yards in the 81st minute.

Details of the tragedy outside the stadium were only confirmed after the game.

Cameroon is hosting Africa’s flagship football tournament for the first time in 50 years.

The host nation is scheduled to face Guinea, another tournament debutant, on Saturday in the quarter-final.

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