'At least one dead and 37 injured' in Madagascar football stadium stampede

Huge queues reported ahead of national team's game against high-profile Senegal side

Tom Barnes
Sunday 09 September 2018 17:12 BST
Madagascar's Mahamasina Municipal Stadium holds around 22,000 people
Madagascar's Mahamasina Municipal Stadium holds around 22,000 people (Getty)

At least one person has died and 37 others left injured during a stampede at a football stadium in Madagascar.

Hospital workers told the AFP news agency fans had been injured in a crush at Mahamasina Municipal Stadium in the Malagasy capital Antananarivo ahead of the national team's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Senegal.

Two supporters are thought to have been left in a critical condition following the incident, while others were discharged quickly after only requiring brief medical attention.

Local media reported earlier in the day demand for match tickets had been high, with thousands desperate to watch a star-studded visiting side featuring the likes of Liverpool forward Sadio Mane.

Malagasy news website Madaplus said queues of people attempting to gain admission had formed several kilometres long in the city on Sunday, more than four hours before kick-off.

BBC Afrique reported the stampede had been sparked after rumours circulated among the crowd tickets for the 22,000-capacity stadium were almost sold out.

It is thought stadium gates had been closed, causing dozens to be crushed as those further back surged forwards.

One fan, Rivo Raberisaona, said he and friends had been queuing for tickets for the game, which kicked off at 2.30pm local time, since 6am that morning.

“We were a metre and a half from the entrance when the stampede happened,” he told AFP. “I was trampled in the back, but my rucksack softened the blow.”

Despite the deadly crush, the game went ahead as scheduled, with the hosts holding their more illustrious opponents to a 2-2 draw.

African football has been marred by a several serious stadium disasters in recent years, prompting some to call for better crowd control and safety measures.

Last year, eight people died at Demba Diop Stadium in Dakar, Senegal, when a clash between fans caused part of the ground to collapse, sparking a stampede when police then fired tear gas into the stands.

A massive riot following an Egyptian Premier League game in 2012 left 74 people dead and 500 injured after supporters of Port Said-based Al-Masry attacked fans of Al-Ahly using knives, swords and other weapons.

In 2009, a World Cup qualifier between Ivory Coast and Malawi at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan saw 19 people killed and more than 100 others injured in a stadium crush.

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