The Africa Cup of Nations witnessed a black day in the run-up to the match between hosts Cameroon and one of the tournament's underdogs, Comoros. The match was played, Cameroon won and advanced to the quarterfinals of the tournament against an opponent who had to field a defender as goalkeeper due to an outbreak of covid. In the end, at least eight people were killed and more than 38 injured in an avalanche that occurred moments before the match.
The spectacular Paul Biya stadium in Yaoundé was preparing to host the Cameroon national team. The tournament hosts were already in the quarterfinals as fate had put a depleted Comoros in their path.
An hour earlier, an avalanche broke out around the stadium, leading to moments of terror. The fans decided to storm the gates of the stadium and there are two versions that are being put forward by the country's official investigation. On the one hand, it is suggested that the fans did not understand that the Covid-19 regulations limit the capacity to 80% of its capacity. But on the other hand, it is suggested that the government ordered ticket giveaways to fill the stadium, which led to the fatal avalanche.
Many wanted to get in at all costs and this led to the fatal avalanche which resulted in a shocking scene with fans trampled to the ground, children taken to hospital and others giving mouth-to-mouth treatment to unconscious fans.
The first official report from the Cameroonian authorities spoke of eight dead and 38 injured, 31 slightly and seven seriously, received at the Messassi hospital where many of the injured were able to arrive despite traffic complications in the area. Others were treated inside the stadium by Red Cross medical staff.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) explained in an official statement that it "is aware of the incident", and said it "is investigating the situation and trying to get more details on what happened". "We are in constant communication with the government of Cameroon and the local organising committee," it added.
The incident came two days after another major tragedy in Yaounde when a fire at a nightclub killed 17 people.