Averting Africa's tragic stadium disasters [Sport]

Experts attribute the drum roll of football disasters to a combination of poor security and stadium management that reflects a « general indifference to the comfort and safety of people who go to watch

African football is no stranger to death at stadiums. Last weekend was an exciting weekend for football fans in the continent when we were having plenty of matches for the AFCON 2019 qualifiers, but in The Big Island of Madagascar, a life was lost and 40 injured in a stadium stampede just before the Madagascar vs Senegal game.



This is definitely not the first such incident in Africa. It’s again not even the worst. The continent has over the last few decades gotten a tragic record of stadium disasters. Ironically with increasing insecurity, no incident has been a result of a terrorist act. All these tragedies stem from Poor crowd control, overzealous policing and fan misbehavior.



On May 9‚ 2001, the worst stadium disaster in Africa occurred In Accra Ghana, after a match between Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko. Hearts netted two late goals to win the game‚ after which Kotoko threw objects onto the pitch and broke seats. The police fired tear gas into the stands and from the resultant stampede‚ 127 souls were lost.

At the Stade Frederic Kibassa Maliba in Lubumbashi DRC, local clubs TP Mazembe and St Eloi Lupopo were clashing on 29, April 2001. Crowd trouble ensued and again, police fired teargas into the crowd. A total of 14 people died in the stampede that followed.



In 2012 reports said 74 people were killed when fans of Egyptian side Al Masry turned violent against visiting supporters of Al Ahly at the Port Said Stadium. Panicked Ahly fans were attacked with blunt instruments and knives, and many were killed in a crush as they tried to escape the violence, while others fell or were thrown from terraces.



Last year, eight fans died in a stampede at a game in Malawi, while the same number was killed in a cup final in Senegal.



Two fans were killed in South Africa during a crush at an entrance gate for a pre-season friendly between Soweto sides Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at Soccer City, the venue for the 2010 World Cup final, in July 2017.



Those are just but some of the ugly incidences that have emerged from crowd trouble in African stadiums. By analysis most of the deaths come from stampedes that stem from poor policing, like police firing tear gas into crowd. Then the crowd surges towards the only available exits.



It has been established that due to poor ticketing systems, most of the stadiums have only a few gates open and others locked. Why would you have only 3 gates open in a 60,000-capacity stadium that has over 20 gates?



There’s a culture of neglect that needs to end. Experts attribute the drum roll of football disasters to a combination of poor security and stadium management that reflects a “general indifference to the comfort and safety of people who go to watch.”



The practice of police using tear gas should be banned, as it evidently does nothing but spark calamity and stampedes. Stadium management and crowd control also need to be upped to international standards as per the FIFA guidelines.



But then there’s the biggest problem of all, that is hooliganism and spectator violence which is what has triggered most tragedies. Combating such unruly behaviour has proved hard for security officials but it can be fairly regulated through implementation of fences to stop fans running onto the pitch and installing pens to prevent sideways movement by fans – ultimately, that requires high levels of order and crowd control.



Bottom line is regardless of societal or economic constraints, African governments, federations and football fans have a huge responsibility and in fact a duty, in making our stadiums safe places to watch football.



AFCON U-20: Mali crowned champions

Mali beats Senegal at the finals of the U- 20 AFCON in Niger to back home her first continental title for the category.

Mali beats Senegal at the finals of the U- 20 AFCON in Niger
to back home her first continental title for the category.

Liverpool, Juventus, Barcelona and Fc Bayern all take center stage as the journey to unseat Real Madrid as Europe’s best continues with the 16th finals of the Uefa Champions League.

Ahead of the 2019 Afcon Yannick Bolasie of the DR Congo seeks play time in Belgian top flight, we shall be getting his reaction at the end of his first game with his new employers.

Kaepernick reaches deal with NFL - Lawyer

He was unsigned as a free agent through the fall of the season after he opted out of a contract with the San Francisco 49ers

Colin Kaepernick, one of the most visible players to protest against racial injustice during the U.S. national anthem, has resolved grievances with the National Football League.

His attorney, Mark Geragos said via Twitter on Friday that the resolution was subject to a confidentiality agreement and so the team said there would be no further comment by either party.

Kaepernick, 31, filed a collusion grievance against NFL owners in October 2017.

He was unsigned as a free agent through the fall of the season after he opted out of a contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Since then, the former NFL quarterback has been unable to find a team to play for.

Kaepernick led the 49ers to the Super Bowl game in 2013.

Reuters

Saudi flags Crown Prince - Man United acquisition report 'offside'

Reports that Mohammed Bin Salman intends to buy the club are “completely false”, the minister, Turki al-Shabanah, wrote on social network Twitter.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is not seeking to buy Premier League football club Manchester United, the kingdom’s media minister said on Monday, denying reports and adding that there had only been a meeting with the Saudi wealth fund regarding sponsorship.

Reports that Mohammed Bin Salman intends to buy the club are “completely false”, the minister, Turki al-Shabanah, wrote on social network Twitter.

He was reacting to reports that the crown prince had sought to tempt the Glazer family to cede control of the club.

“Manchester United held a meeting with PIF Saudi to discuss (a) sponsorship opportunity,” Shabanah said, adding that no deal materialised.

On Sunday, the British newspaper, the Sun, said the crown prince was in a £3.8-billion ($4.9-billion) takeover bid for one of football’s most popular clubs.

The paper said a bid was first submitted in October but the fallout from the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s embassy in Istanbul put the “skids” on a potential offer.

REUTERS

Ethiopian teenager smashes 1,500m world indoor record

It came on the same Birmingham track where Tefera had won the world title last year.

Ethiopian teenager Samuel Tefera outduelled compatriot Yomif Kejelcha to break the world indoor 1,500 metres record in Birmingham on Saturday.

Tefera, 19, clocked three minutes, 31.04 seconds at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting to take down Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj’s 1997 record of 3:31.18.

It came on the same Birmingham track where Tefera had won the world title last year. Tefera kicked past Kejelcha after the bell for the final lap and charged to the finish line. Kejelcha finished second in a personal best of 3:31.58.

Kejelcha, the 21-year-old two-time world indoor 3,000m champion, had come within 0.01 of the world indoor mile record last week in New York. He had announced before Saturday’s race he would be going for the 1,500m record.

Scotland’s Laura Muir became the third-fastest indoor miler of all-time at the same meeting when she broke the British record. The European champion clocked 4:18.75.

The world record is 4:13.31 by Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba in 2016.

REUTERS

Sala's family bids final farewell

28 year old Sala, had been flying from his previous club Nantes in western France to Wales on January 21 to make his debut for the Premier League team.

A coffin carrying the remains of footballer, Emiliano Sala carried from a vigil site to a hearse by the star’s friends and family on Saturday.

Sala’s coffin was at a vigil inside Sala’s childhood club, San Martin de Progreso, in Santa Fe, Argentina, during the day before being moved to a hearse.

Crowds applauded and some openly wept as the Cardiff player’s coffin was driven through the streets to a private ceremony in Santa Fe city, where Sala’s body is due to be cremated.

Sala,28, had been flying from his previous club Nantes in western France to Wales on January 21 to make his debut for the Premier League team.

His single-engined Piper Malibu aircraft he was travelling in disappeared over the English Channel.

Wreckage was found on February 3 following a privately-funded underwater search and a body recovered on February 6.

The body was taken to southern England where it was positively identified as Sala.

Reuters