At least eight people died in crush at African Cup

3 months ago 71

AP

Actualizado 25/01/2022 - 10:39

At least eight people died in a crush outside a stadium hosting a game at Africa's top soccer tournament in Cameroon on Monday, a local government official said, realizing fears over the capacity of the country to stage the continent's biggest sports event.

The crush happened as crowds struggled to get access to Olembe Stadium in the capital city of Yaounde to watch the host country play Comoros in a last 16 knockout game in the African Cup of Nations.

Soccer officials said around 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 for the game due to restrictions on the size of the crowd because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cameroon is hosting the African Cup for the first time in 50 years. The Central African nation was meant to host the tournament in 2019 but the event was taken away from it that year and awarded to Egypt because of serious concerns with Cameroon's preparations, particularly the readiness of its stadiums.

Olembe Stadium was one of the venues that was under scrutiny. It is the main stadium for the monthlong tournament and will stage three more games, including the final on Feb. 6.

Monday's incident was the second serious blow to the country in the space of a day, after at least 17 people died when a fire set off a series of explosions at a nightclub in Yaounde on Sunday.

Following that incident, Cameroon President Paul Biya urged the country to be on guard while it hosts its biggest national sports event in a half century.

Cameroon won Monday's game 2-1 to move on to the quarterfinals.

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