Nigeria claim 'no choice' over stadium

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The Independent Football

The Nigeria Football Federation say they were left with "no choice" over the venue for their friendly against North Korea at which a stampede left 16 people injured.

The incident in Tembisa, a township in the east of Johannesburg, occurred as fans surged to gain entry into the 10,000-capacity Makhulong Stadium.

To compound matters, tickets for the pre-World Cup clash were free, meaning there was a huge demand and additional pressure on authorities after a larger number of fans than expected turned up.

FIFA have already insisted they are not to blame for what happened as the match was not organised by them.

But the NFF has also moved to deflect any finger-pointing, saying its hand was forced when it came to selecting a venue.

"We had no choice," Taiwo Ogunjobi, the technical committee chairman told

"That was the only venue available to us.

"FIFA had taken control of all the stadia we could have used and we had to settle for this one because we needed to play this match."

The incident occurred just days before the first World Cup on African soil is set to kick off.

Ogunjobi declined to comment on how the tickets for the game were distributed, with the South African Police Services (SAPS) revealing they were "apparently being handed out by the teams outside the stadium".

The NFF chief was just relieved that there was no worse outcome.

He added: "At the end of the day, we thank God nobody died.

"It is a football match and because it was free, a lot of people came in, especially on the covered sides."

England are due to play local side Platinum Stars at the 20,000-capacity Moruleng ground near Rustenburg today, where tickets are also expected to be free.

FIFA will be hoping to avoid any further negative publicity with the finals due to begin in Johannesburg on Friday when hosts South Africa take on Mexico.