At least six people are reported to be killed and dozens injured in a stampede outside Olembe Stadium in Yaounde during hosts Cameroon's 2021 Africa Cup of Nations last-16 match against Comoros. (More Football News)
News agency AP, quoting local government officials, reported that the crush happened as crowds struggled to get access to Olembe Stadium in the capital city of Yaounde to watch the knockout game.
Six people are reported to have been killed and dozens hurt in a crush outside a stadium hosting an Africa Cup of Nations match in Cameroon.— Charles Ayitey (@CharlesAyitey_) January 24, 2022
Video footage showed football fans struggling to get access to the Paul Biya stadium in a neighbourhood of the capital Yaounde. pic.twitter.com/a6WLbFZORj
The stadium reportedly has a capacity of 60,000 but due to COVID-19 restrictions, the attendance was capped at 80% for the game.
Reports claimed that around 50,000 people had tried to enter the stadium when the stadium stewards closed the gates. Children were believed to be among those caught up in the crush.
Naseri Paul Biya, the governor of the central region of Cameroon, said there could be more deaths.
“We are not in position to give you the total number of casualties,” AP quoted Biya as saying.
The Confederation of African Football, which runs the African Cup, issued a statement.
“CAF is currently investigating the situation and trying to get more details on what transpired,” it said. “We are in constant communication with Cameroon government and the Local Organizing Committee.”
Cameroon was meant to host the tournament in 2019 but the 32nd edition was awarded to Egypt because of serious concerns with the Central African country's preparations, particularly the readiness of its stadiums.
The country is hosting the continent's biggest sporting event for the first time in 50 years.
Despite the tragedy, the match took place and Cameroon won 2-1. They will meet the Gambia in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
Olembe Stadium is also due to host a quarter-final on January 30, one of the semi-finals on February 3 and the final three days later.