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Nigeria-Egypt overcrowded by 40,000 fans

Mohamed Salah equalised in injury-time in Egypt's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Nigeria, on March 26.
Mohamed Salah equalised in injury-time in Egypt's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Nigeria, on March 26. REUTERS/Susana Vera

Fans overran the Ahmadu Stadium in Kaduna on Friday, to watch Nigeria's crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Egypt. An estimated 40,000 supporters packed into the 25,000-capacity venue, as their team drew 1-1.

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Nigeria could face African Football Confederation (CAF) sanctions for allowing too many spectators into the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna on Friday.

When the Kaduna State government allowed fans free entry to watch their team's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, 40,000 people poored into the 25,000-capacity venue in Kaduna.

Hours before kick-off, supporters started scaling fences to find their way in.

As it became clear that the stadium’s capacity was being overstretched, police failed to stop the crowd from entering.

Some fans climbed a floodlights pylon to watch the match, whilst others stood on the athletics tracks on the side of the pitch.

Supporters were also seen sitting on the scoreboard, rooftops, and telecommunication masts, in a frenzied atmosphere.

"Nigeria will most likely be penalised by CAF for poor crowd control even though there was no major incident before, during or after the match," said one official.

"Sanctions for such a shortcoming would be a fine and a warning."

African football has struggled with crowd control in recent years.

During Nigeria’s international against Chad in June 2015, the Ahmadu Bello Stadium was the scene of a pitch invasion.

In 2009, 19 people died in a stampede before a World Cup qualifier in Ivory Coast, who were then fined 40,000 Euros from FIFA.

A stampede at the Accra Sports Stadium in Ghana in 2001 resulted in 127 deaths.

This time no major disaster occurred, as the two teams drew 1-1.

Oghenekaro Etebo put the Super Eagles in front on the hour, before Mohamed Salah equalised for Egypt in the dying seconds.

The results keeps the Pharaohs on top of Group G - the “group of death” - ahead of Nigeria, Tanzania, and Chad.

 

 

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