Stadium tragedies on the African continent
The deaths of two fans at the Carling Black Label Champion Cup match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates on Saturday is just the latest in a long line of stadium tragedies on the African continent.
Here is a look at 10 that resulted in the loss of life‚ and which could so easily have been avoided.
ACCRA SPORTS STADIUM – ACCRA‚ GHANA
Date: May 9‚ 2001
Death toll: 127
The worst stadium disaster in Africa occurred after a match between Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko‚ with police fearful before the game that there would be trouble.
Hearts netted two late goals to win the game‚ after which Kotoko through objects onto the pitch and broke seats.
The police fired tear gas into the stands and from the resultant stampede‚ 127 souls were lost.
Police were blamed in the aftermath‚ though nobody was ultimately held responsible.
PORT SAID STADIUM – PORT SAID‚ EGYPT
Date: 1 February‚ 2012
Death toll: 74
A riot after an Egyptian league fixture between home side al Masri and Cairo giants Al Ahly caused the death of 74 people‚ with more than 500 injured.
Al-Masri fans reportedly attacked Ahly supporters with knives‚ swords and stones‚ and there were allegations that the riot was politically motivated as the Arab Spring gripped the country.
Some 73 people were ultimately charged with various crimes relating to the atrocity and so far 10 had been sentenced to death‚ another 37 received prison sentences and 26 were acquitted.
ZAMALEK STADIUM – CAIRO‚ EGYPT
Date: February 17‚ 1974
Death toll: 48-50
A friendly match between Egyptian giants Zamalek and Czechoslovakian side Dukla Prague turned deadly when an estimated 80‚000 people tried to enter a stadium that held half that.
Walls collapsed‚ people were crushed and reports suggest between 48 and 50 people lost their lives.
The deaths of two fans at the Carling Black Label Champion Cup match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates on Saturday is just the latest in a long line of stadium tragedies on the African continent. – JOHANNESBURG‚ SOUTH AFRICA
Date: April 11‚ 2001
Death toll: 43
The 60‚000 seater stadium in Johannesburg was already full to capacity for the Soweto Derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates when an estimated 30‚000 additional fans tried to force their way into the venue.
This caused a crush in which 43 people‚ including children‚ were killed. The situation was reportedly exacerbated by police firing tear gas towards the surging fans.
The incident caused a raft of changes in terms of ticketing and crowd control at South African league matches.
OPPENHEIMER STADIUM – ORKNEY‚ SOUTH AFRICA
Date: January 13‚ 1991
Death toll: 42
Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates met in a pre-season friendly at the 23‚000 seater Oppenheimer Stadium‚ but reports say at least 30‚000 were let into the venue.
They were not separated and when Chiefs were awarded a dubious goal‚ Pirates fans reportedly turned violent‚ attacking rival supporters.
This caused a stampede that left 42 people dead.
30 JUNE STADIUM – CAIRO‚ EGYPT
Date: 8 February‚ 2015
Death toll: 28
Another tragedy for Egypt as it became clear that football could not be played in the country without tensions rising.
Some 28 fans died‚ most crushed to death‚ in a stampede at an Egyptian league match between Zamalek and ENPPI.
Police had used tear gas to disperse fans trying to force their way into the stadium. In the wake of the tragedy‚ the Egyptian league was halted for almost two months‚ but did resume in late March.
As a result of the tragedy‚ the Egyptian league was not played for the next two years.
STADE FÉLIX HOUPHOUËT-BOIGNY – ABIDJAN‚ IVORY COAST
Date: 29 March‚ 2009
Death toll: 19
A 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier between home side Ivory Coast and Malawi turned deadly when police fired tear gas at rowdy fans‚ causing a stampede.
Nineteen people were killed and 135 injured. The match was played despite the incident before kick-off‚ with the Ivorians winning 5-0.
STADE FREDERIC KIBASSA MALIBA – LUBUMBASHI‚ DR CONGO
Date: 29 April‚ 2001
Death toll: 14
This tragedy happened at a local league match between TP Mazembe and St Eloi Lupopo. After Mazembe fans had invaded the pitch following an equaliser for their team‚ police fired teargas into the crowd.
A total of 14 people died in the stampede that followed‚ and authorities were roundly criticised for what was viewed as a gross over-reaction to the situation.
NATIONAL STADIUM – HARARE‚ ZIMBABWE
Date: 9 July‚ 2000
Death toll: 13
Zimbabwe hosted South Africa in a World Cup qualifier and with Bafana Bafana leading 2-0‚ there was unrest in the crowd.
Police fired teargas into the stands and the stampede and ensued cost the lives of 13 people.
Fans had been throwing bottles onto the pitch‚ but police over-reacted and caused further mayhem‚ leading to the deaths.
KONKOLA STADIUM – CHILILABOMBWE‚ ZAMBIA
Date: 2 June‚ 2007
Death toll: 12
A crush occurred as fans rushed to leave the Konkola Stadium after Zambia had defeated Congo-Brazzaville 3-0 in an African Nations Cup qualifier.
The exact reasons for the stampede remain unclear‚ but witnesses said the fans raced out of the stadium‚ filled above its capacity‚ through one narrow exit to reach free bus services at the end of the game.
This caused a crush that left 12 people dead.