The head of CAF Dr Patrice Motsepe insists that Africa Cup of Nations won’t be cancelled due to stadium tragedy
After a deadly stampede at the Stade d’Olembe in Yaounde, Cameroon, which claimed the lives of 8 people, there were suggestions that Africa Cup of nations will be postponed. However, CAF president Motsepe has debunked those suggestions
AFCON will continue despite the ‘pain’ caused by the tragedy
Other than the lives it claimed, Stade d’Olembe tragedy, has seen 38 people injured, 7 of which are now in critical condition. CAf president Dr Patrice Motsepe has attempted to clarify their standing in regards to what has transpired.
“The issue was whether we should postpone [Tuesday’s] matches, and it’s an important question,” he told journalists. “From my side, I cannot just consult, but also listen to the guidance of various stakeholders.
“The conclusion was that we should observe a moment of silence, and with regards to [Tuesday’s] matches, it was an issue to discuss and consider.
“However, it’s incredible how, even among those who are injured, two said to me that they can’t wait to get out of hospital and go to the stadium.
“I’ve seen the passion, the absolute passion of the people of Cameroon and their love for football; it brings people together, and the passion for football in this country is entrenched and deep-rooted.”
Motsepe, who is South African, spoke about his own experiences with spectating sport in a country divided by racism and how it has inspired his decision to continue with AFCON.
“We’re all dealing with the pain we feel, but we have to deal with our obligations“
“I come from a country separated on race, where blacks could not play football with whites, and we always knew the power of sport, of football,” he continued. “I was in the stadium with my wife when [Nelson] Mandela was wearing the rugby captain’s jersey, and it had been the root of deep, deep division.
“We’re all dealing with the pain we feel, but we have to deal with our obligations, and we have to be aware of the role football plays in bringing together people from all backgrounds across the continent.”
Motsepe then went on to explain how he think a closed gate, possibly at the East Entrance of the stadium, led to the stampede claiming lives.
“There was a gate that was closed that was meant to be open, and if it had been open, people would have walked through,” he continued. “For inexplicable reasons, it was closed.
“If it had been open, as it was supposed to, we wouldn’t have had the problem we have now—this loss of life.
“As part of this hearing, we want to know who closed it and who is responsible, because we mustn’t compromise in our insistence to have appropriate measures which are the best in the world.
“There may be unforeseen circumstances when a gate that is supposed to be open is closed, but we and our partners, we have a huge commitment to ensure that appropriate measures are put in place so that this doesn’t happen again.”