AFCON match moved away from stampede stadium

YAOUNDE: The next Africa Cup of Nations match scheduled for Yaounde’s Olembe Stadium, where eight people were killed in a stampede on Monday, will be moved to another venue, the Confederation of African Football president Patrice Motsepe said on Tuesday.

The stadium was next scheduled to host a quarter-final tie on Sunday but it will now be played at Yaounde’s Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium.

It is the match between the winners of Tuesday’s (Wednesday 3am Malaysian time) last-16 tie between Malawi and Morocco and victors of Wednesday’s (Thursday 12.01am) clash between Egypt and the Ivory Coast.

The newly-completed Olembe Stadium is still scheduled to host a semifinal on Feb 3 and the final on Feb 6 but Motsepe suggested that unless local authorities in Cameroon guaranteed improved security, they too could be moved.

Motsepe said CAF were asking for an explanation from Cameroon’s organising committee and government as to the cause of the stampede and why gates at the stadium, that should have been opened, were closed.

“We want urgent steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again and a report by Friday to explain what went wrong,” Motsepe told a news conference.

“Clearly there were deficiencies, failures at weaknesses. There were problems that should have been foreseen.

“The safety and security of spectators has to be our primary duty and obligation.”

Motsepe said there were thousands of additional spectators who had gone to the stadium to “take in the atmosphere”.

“There was a gate closed for inexplicable reasons,” he said after visiting the site of the stampede, suggesting had it been opened the stamped could have been avoided.

Motsepe said a postponement of Tuesday’s matches at the tournament had been discussed but it was decided they would go ahead.

There are two matches scheduled for Tuesday in Bafoussam and at the Ahmadou Ahidjou Stadium in Yaounde.

A total of 38 were also injured when fans stormed the stadium hosting the Cup of Nations match between Cameroon and Comoros.

Motsepe said he had visited the injured and that only seven remain hospitalised. – Reuters