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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 March, 2004, 14:18 GMT
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Ghana's Accra stadium
Ghana's Accra stadium scene of one of Africa's worst football tragedies

The African football website is trying to help well-known football author David Goldblatt compile his book on a global history of the sport.

As well as compiling statistics and match reports the book is going to include a section on the numerous stadium tragedies that have happened across Africa.

The author is keen not just to reprint the newspaper reports of the tragedies but to include first hand experiences of the events.

We would like eye witness accounts of the events that surrounded these tragedies and pass them on to David Goldblatt so he can get the real picture of what happened on these sad days for African football.

Were you at Ellis Park or Accra Stadium in 2001 when hundreds of fans lost their lives?

Are you old enough to have been at the match between Zamalek of Egypt and Hungary's Dukla Prague in 1974, when 48 people lost their lives?

How about at the Tripoli International Stadium in Libya in 1988 when part of the stadium collapsed and at least 2 people died?

There have been numerous other tragedies at African football matches so if you have a story that you want to share with us and David Goldblatt please use the form on the right to contact us.


One mustn't forget the stampede at the Zimbabwean National stadium during the game between Zimbabwe and neighbours South Africa in July 2000. In contrast to the other disasters around the same time in Africa the death toll was relatively small. But what makes it even worse was the fact that it could have been avoided. The police locked the exits and then fired tear gas into the. The crowd then surged towards the exits to escape only to find them locked forcing them to pour back down towards the pitch. The result was fans were crushed against the metal fencing. There is yet to be an investigation on the event. Why?
Mike Bohlies, Zimbabwe

I see you are talking about the history of the tragedies that have happened in Africa. Why don't we talk about the some of the things that have happened in the UK, why not look at the fans in Europe? If you don't think that Egypt can host the World cup 2001 then come and see for yourself. Why not ask the players of Real Madrid or AC Roma or other teams that have played in Egypt in the last 10 years. You will see how much football means to the Egyptians. Lets not forget too that Egypt is to host the 2006 Cup of Nations.
Moamed Abou Samra, UK

My memories of African stadiums are more of drumming and dancing than tragedies. As a Nigeria football fan the performance of the Official Supporters of the Super Eagles makes me want to be anywhere that the national side plays. Their singing, dancing and attitude almost makes you forget who is winning the match. So, tell us more about Africa's joyful celebrations do not reduce football in Africa to just tragedies. These only happen once in a while.
Chidi Nwamadi, Toulouse, France

I was in Accra from 2000 to 2002. Being a football fan I was attracted to the style and flow of football that Accra Hearts of Oak displayed in 2000 that I followed every single game they played that year. When Kumasi Asante Kotoko come to town to play Hearts on 9 May 2001, there was no way i could miss the match.

It was the visitors who took control of the match and scored the opening goal early in the second half through Lawrence Adjei's long range shot. Still there were no signs of what was to follow. Ismail Addo equalized for Hearts with about 25 minute of the game left. Many Kotoko fans felt the goal should have been disallowed for offside.

This was the real beginning of the tension between the fans. Then when Addo scored a second who had been threatenning all through the game took advantage of Kotoko's confusion to slot in a second goal soon after the first and that was it. The Kotoko fans turned their anger on the referee throwing all sorts of missiles onto the pitch. When they ran short of readily available objects they ripped up the stadium seats and hurled them to the pitch. The reaction from the police was to hit back with tear gas to try and disperse them. This in turn seemed to cause panic which lead to the stampede. Even from the opposite end where I was you could see that a few people were going to be suffocated, even if the gates had been wide enough there was no way they would have rushed out without some going down. I just decided to get out as soon as possible and caught a taxi back to school. As I sat telling my friends what I had seen the evening news came on and it was only then that I realised the scale of the disaster. Most people did not loose there lives through injury but suffocation. These kinds of death should not happen in football stadia.

So was it the crowd, the referee, the police, Hearts winner or the fact that Kotoko wanted so much to beat Hearts that they could not just take defeat? What really caused the Accra Sports Stadium Disaster? Did the police really act irrationally? How should they have acted? Can somebody answer this questions?
Raphael Abanja, Buffalo, NY

I did not have to be in the Accra stadium to recollect one of the most unfortunate incidents in the history of African football. But for an exam that I had the following day, I would certainly have been at the match. My roommate did travel from Kumasi to see the game and was missing for two days but thankfully he turned up safe and sound. May their soul rest in perfect peace.
Asenso-Boakye, Ghanaian living in Michigan, USA

At the time, I was a Hearts of Oak official (Special Assistant to Hearts of Oak's board chairman), and in fact I think I was the first club official on the scene. My experiences are too harrowing and lengthy for this forum but I would be glad to give Mr Goldblatt all I can recall, if it will help save lives.
Kwadwo Twum Boafo, U.S.A.

I was a witness to the tragedy at the National Stadium Surulere, Lagos on 12 August 1989 . It was a World Cup 1990 qualifying game between Nigeria and Angola, during which the host nation lost midfielder, Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji, through what was medically certified few days after as "cardiac arrest". During the match, however, seven fans also lost their lives in what the media reported as the result of "possible suffocation". But the truth of the matter, was sheer negligence of the part of officials had led to overcrowding at the match venue. FIFA would later follow the matter up by slamming a two-year ban on that stadium.
Afolabi Gambari, Africa University, Zimbabwe




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SEE ALSO
Ghana tragedy: How it happened
10 May 01  |  Africa


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