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AFCON crowd crush: what caused tragedy outside Africa Cup of Nations match in Cameroon - and CAF statement

The CAF look set to tighten security at AFCON 2022, following yesterday’s tragedy in Cameroon’s capital.

The Confederation of African football were in a meeting with the local organising committee on Tuesday morning to understand what led to at least eight people including a teenager losing their lives at the stadium in Yaounde ahead of Cameroon’s match against Comoros.

The information has been sketchy with videos appearing across over social media platforms showing fans being in a life-threatening situation at the gates of the President Paul Biya Stadium in Yaounde.

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Witnesses claim there was a struggle between fans who did not have either a Covid vaccination pass or tickets but wanted to witness the Cameroon play at their AFCON 2022 round of 16 match against Comoros.

CAF and the local organising committee have insisted that all fans must show proof of Covid vaccination to gain access to the games.

There are reports that the Covid vaccination requirement has had a negative impact on attendance of the games, since most of the people are not vaccinated.

NationalWorld understands that CAF is not looking to lower the standard and will continue to demand vaccination passes and increase security in anticipation of further attempts from fans to force their way through games.

What have the CAF said?

CAF released a statement minutes after the game, which saw the host nation beating Comoros 2-1.

The statement read: “CAF is aware of the incident that took place at Olembe Stadium during the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations fixture between hosts Cameroon and Comoros tonight, 24 January 2022.

“CAF is currently investigating the situation and trying to get more details on what transpired. We are in constant communication with the Cameroon government and the Local Organizing Committee.

“Tonight, the CAF President Dr Patrice Motsepe sent the General Secretary, Veron Mosengo-Omba to visit the supporters in a hospital in Yaounde.”

What caused the crush ?

There are still faint details on the main cause but eyewitness Ayeasha Mumbi said most of the fans tried to push their way in after being asked to provide their Covid details for the second time.

“I saw how it unfolded before running for my life,” she told NationalWorld.

“There are a series of gates you have to go through before you get into the stadium and I think most of them had already passed the health checking system and when they got to the final gate they were asked again for health checks and that created a lot of crowd.

“I think some of them thought the game was about to start so they started getting agitated and things blew off.”

“The pushing started and it got really scary and I ran away from there straight away.”

What is the capacity of the stadium and how many people are allowed in?

The Stadium in Yaounde has a capacity of 60,000 but has been capped at 60% for all of the group games, partly down to Covid restrictions but is always raised to 80% when the host nation is playing.

Even though there is always the need to have heightened security due to the number of home fans who want to catch a glimpse of their national team.

Schools are closed early and the government provides buses to ensure that school children get to watch the game.