March 25 – A female fan died Sunday during a stampede outside Zimbabwe’s National Sports Stadium in Harare, the latest tragedy at an African international fixture.
Her death as supporters scrambled to gain entry overshadowed Zimbabwe’s qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with a 2-0 win over Congo-Brazzaville.
Zimbabwe Republic Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi explained that the crowd became impatient over problems with the ticket scanner and began “pushing and shoving” with the game about to start.
“The woman who was in front fell down and was trampled upon by the mob. She was taken to a local hospital where she was confirmed dead after admission,” he told local reporters.
Crowd control, combined with fake tickets, has been a constant hazard at stadia across Africa and the Zimbabwe FA (ZIFA) said in a statement on Monday: “We shall continue to work towards making our admission processes at entry points more swift so that recurrence of such unfortunate events can be avoided.”
The Democratic Republic of Congo also qualified from the group with a 1-0 win over Liberia in Kinshasa. Liberia and Congo-Brazzaville – who were both in contention at the start of the day – were eliminated.
The victory makes it back-to-back AFCON appearances for Zimbabwe, who played in Gabon in 2017 after an 11-year absence from the finals. The 2019 competition will, for the first time, take place in June and July and will feature 24 teams rather than 16.
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