The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) has adamantly stated that no fans died during a stampede at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium prior to Saturday’s 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier, despite reports.
The game, which saw Nigeria beat Zambia 1-0 to become the first African nation to qualify for the tournament, has been tainted by reports that five football fans allegedly died amongst the crowd before the game kicked off.
NFF general secretary, Mohammed Sanusi, said: “There is absolutely no truth to the report that some fans died. Naturally, considering the nature of the particular match, so many fans wanted to watch the match live, and there were some pushing and shoving at the gates.
“We are in contact with the Akwa Ibom State Government and we can confirm that nobody died. A few persons suffered injuries but they are in hospital and their progress is being monitored.
“This is a good period for Nigerian football. Only a few weeks ago, the Super Eagles also qualified for the African Nations Championship. There is so much to celebrate, and there is no reason for stories that emanate from the imagination of persons.”
This year, there have been four other incidents of stampedes at stadiums in different African nations. Most recently, two people died at a high-profile football match at Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium in South Africa following a stampede, while eight people were killed and almost 90 injured after a wall collapsed following a stampede at the Demba Diop stadium in Senegal.
Image: Das Wortgenwand