At least eight supporters were killed in a stampede at the Yaounde Olembe Stadium on Monday before the crucial Round of 16 clash between AFCON hosts Cameroon and Comoros.
Cameroon won the game 2-1 and advanced in the quarter-finals. Comoros had no keeper available for this match, so left-back Chaker Alhadhur started in goal.
The national broadcaster in Cameroon reported that the eight fans who died were crushed at an entrance gate. Dozens were left badly injured and were transported to hospitals across the Cameroonian capital.
The continental football governing body, CAF, said it was “investigating the situation”. “We are in constant communication with Cameroon government and the Local Organizing Committee,” a press release read.
Because of the low turnout in the group-stage matches, local authorities decided to organize mass transport and give away free tickets to get fans in the stands ahead of the knock-out stages.
The Yaounde Olembe Stadium can hold up to 60,000 people, but only 80% was officially available to be filled due to COVID-19 restrictions. According to Cameroonian officials, more than 50,000 fans attempted to enter the stadium.
Comoros out after an incredible journey
Africa Cup of Nations first-timers Comoros beat Ghana in their decisive group match to get into the Round of 16. Against Cameroon, they put up a heroic performance. Comoros had no available goalkeeper for this match, so left-back Chaker Alhadhur needed to play in goal.
— #TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 🏆 (@CAF_Online) January 24, 2022
As if this wasn’t enough, Comoros went down to 10 men after just seven minutes, when 37-year-old Nadjim Abdou was shown a straight red card. Cameroon went 1-0 up as the game hit the half-hour mark thanks to a goal from Toko Ekambi, then Vincent Aboubakar doubled their advantage 20 minutes before the end of the match.
Youssouf M’Changama pulled one back for Comoros in the 81st minute and scared the odds favorites, but nothing happened in the remaining 10 minutes and Cameroon went through.
The Indomitable Lions will now face Gambia on Saturday for a seat in the semi-finals.