Eight die after wall collapse in Senegal stadium chaos


African football is once again waking up to news of another stadium tragedy after eight people were confirmed dead and a further 49 injured after a wall collapsed following a fight between rival fans during the Senegalese League Cup final at the Stade Demba Diop in Dakar.

A brawl began among supporters during the match between US Ouakam and Stade de Mbour on Saturday evening, with police using tear gas to disperse the fans, according to BBC Sport.

This prompted panic and, as fans attempted to flee the stadium, a wall collapsed under the pressure, crushing supporters.

The stadium was built during the 1960s, and had raised concerns in recent years due to the antiquated nature of the structure.

As seen on footage by local broadcaster TM2, spectators were throwing stones and other projectiles, with local news agency Agence de Presse Senegalaise reporting that firemen and ambulances were called to the stadium.

The violence began after an extra-time goal by Mbour following a 1-1 draw during 90 minutes.

“All of a sudden when the wall fell,” said observer Cheikh Maba Diop, speaking to AFP as per BBC Sport. “We knew exactly that some of our own had lost their lives because the wall fell directly on to people.”

Stadium tragedies are an all too common occurrence in African football, and Saturday’s disaster is the latest in a long string of such disasters.

In 2001, 43 fans lost their lives in the Ellis Park Stadium disaster in Johannesburg during a Soweto Derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, and a month later, 127 died in Accra when police fired tear gas to disperse fans during a match between rivals Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko.

22 supporters died and over 100 were injured at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in the Ivory Coast in March 2009 ahead of a World Cup qualifier, with the authorities later blaming a fan stampede, while in Lusaka, Zambia, 21 fans were killed over two incidents in 1996 and 2007.

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