Angolan football fans
At least 17 football fans died in a stampede at a stadium in northern Angola on Friday, police said, adding that scores of other spectators were injured, many of them seriously. Panic spread through the crowd at the match, which took place in the northern city of Uige. The game, between Santa Rita de Cassia and Recreativo de Libolo, formed part of Angola’s domestic league season.
“There was a blockage at the entrance to the January 4 Stadium. This obstruction caused multiple fatalities – 17 deaths – and there are 56 injured people in the hospital,” said police spokesperson Orlando Bernardo.
He added that there were an unknown number of children among the dead.
The incident is similar to a stampede which occurred in 2001 at Ellis Park Stadium (now Emirates Airline Park) in Johannesburg. In the worst sporting accident in South Africa’s history, 43 people were killed and 250 injured as spectators poured into a stadium that was already full to overcapacity.
The much-anticipated football match was between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. Twenty-nine people died inside the stadium and a further 14 died outside.
Angolan police said hundreds of fans had tried to enter the already packed stadium to see the match, causing a crush that pushed some people to the ground. Many of them were trampled to death or suffocated.
“While the players were on the field, outside fans were
Do you think stadium disasters such as this one can be averted? If so, how?
SMS us on 35697 using the keyword STAMPEDE and tell us what you think. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50 trying to get into the stadium and a gate probably gave way to crowd pressure, causing several people to fall who were literally trampled on by the crowd,” said the Recreativo de Libolo club on its website.
“There are already 17 confirmed dead and at least 59 wounded ... [This was] a tragedy without precedent in the history of Angolan football.”
Some witnesses said many fans did not have tickets for the match, while other reports said spectators inside the stadium were unaware of the stampede until it was over.
Portuguese news agency Lusa reported that Pedro Nzolonzi, the president of the host team, Uige-based Santa Rita de Cassia, said security forces were to blame for not properly controlling the crowd.
“There was a serious police error in letting the people so close to the field,” it quoted Nzolonzi as saying.
“Many of them did not want to pay and those who had tickets could not get in. Then the confusion began. “It is all the fault of the police. It was easy to avoid. “They just need to extend the safety cordon.” The Angolan government had demanded an investigation into the cause of the disaster, reported the state-run Angop news agency.
Angola, ranked 148 in the Fifa World Rankings, is a minor power in African football.
The country has been relatively closed to the outside world under the authoritarian President José Eduardo dos Santos, who has ruled since 1979.
Football has a tragic history of stampedes and stadium deaths, which are often blamed on lack of crowd control, dangerous venues and spectator behaviour.
In 2009, poor crowd control in Abidjan in Ivory Coast caused 19 deaths shortly before a 2010 World Cup qualifier match between hosts Ivory Coast and Malawi was to start.
A stampede at the Accra Sports Stadium in Ghana in 2001 resulted in 127 deaths when supporters, angered by their team’s defeat, threw projectiles and broke chairs. Police threw tear gas grenades in retaliation, triggering a stampede.
In May 1964, 320 people were killed and more than 1 000 injured during a stampede at a Peru-Argentina match at Lima’s National Stadium. Fans could not escape the crush and were trampled or asphyxiated.
Britain renovated its football grounds after 56 people died in a fire in a wooden stand in 1985, and 96 Liverpool supporters died in a crush during an FA Cup semifinal in 1989.