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Page last updated at 15:55 GMT, Sunday, 12 October 2008 16:55 UK

Senegal violence condemned

By Piers Edwards
BBC Sport, Dakar

Damage at the Senegalese Football Federation
Damage at the FSF headquarters included this torched minibus

A member of the Normalisation Committee that is running Senegalese football has condemned the violence that followed the country's 1-1 draw with The Gambia on Saturday.

Senegal's failure to make it to the final stage of qualifying for the 2010 World and Africa Cup of Nations was met by a hail of missiles from their fans in Dakar.

Away from the stadium, an angry mob attacked the headquarters of the Senegalese Football Federation (FSF), causing extensive damage before they were driven back by police using tear gas.

"I think that everything that happened was most regrettable - because the damage caused has been enormous, especially here at the federation," Nouha Cisse told BBC Sport.

"But at the same time, it's understandable because the Senegalese have long been under the illusion since 2002 that one day we would win something.

"Unfortunately, that illusion has been truly shattered now.

"Also, at the moment, there is an illness - economic, social, cultural, political illness here, and all those tensions came out when a sporting defeat was added to them.

"I think, without exaggerating, that Senegalese football is at ground zero. That's to say that we can go no lower. And we've hit rock bottom on almost levels.

Smoke drifts outside the stadium in Dakar
Windows were smashed, rocks thrown and fires lit by fans at the stadium
"The best expression of ground zero can be seen here in the federation, which they've totally vandalised and this is symbolic - that they've attacked the best symbol of football administration, which really shows how we've hit rock bottom."

The Teranga Lions finished in third place in Group 6 and fans sparked serious trouble after the match.

Numerous large stones and other missiles were thrown onto the athletics track around the pitch after the game.

The tunnel leading to the changing rooms was badly damaged and many windows in the stadium were smashed.

Fires were lit both inside and outside the ground after the final whistle.

The Gambian fans and players from both sides were kept back after the game as a precaution.

The players were still at the ground three hours after the final whistle.

Several people were injured in the violence but the extent of their injuries is not known.

The fans were angry after a tepid display by the home team saw them concede an equaliser four minutes from full-time.

It was an unconvincing performance from Senegal throughout but they took the lead on 62 minutes through a scuffed goal from Kader Mangane.

Gambia had been the better team throughout and secured a point with just minutes remaining in the game.


see also
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
11 Oct 08 |  African


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