Deaths in Kenya football stampede

At least seven killed and dozens injured in country's capital during football match between two top teams.

    The stampede occurred during a match between AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia teams

    At least seven people have been killed and dozens injured in a stampede at a football match in Kenya.

    The stampede took place inside the Nyayo National stadium on Saturday in the capital Nairobi during a match between AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia, two of the country's top teams.

    "Seven people are dead. People tried to force entry during the match because they didn't want to pay," David Matee, a radio operator with the local ambulance service, said.

    He also said at least 30 people were hurt in the crush, 14 of them critically.

    Al Jazeera's Catherine Soi, reporting from Nairobi, said the stampede happened during a match between two historically rival clubs with very rowdy fans.

    "Obviously a lot of people were expected to turn up and many didn't want to pay the ticket fees, which was also expected. Thousands crashed into a gate while forcefully trying to get into the stadium," she said.

    "Football administration in Kenya has always been an issue - there is a lot of disorganisation, a lot of corruption and a lot of politics. It is something that the government and all other stakeholders try to sort out but it never seems to get sorted."

    About halfway through the first half of the match between Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, a spectator ran onto the field to warn the referee that "people are being crushed to death," the Kenya Premier League website reported.

    Temporarily halted

    It was only then that the stadium crowd began to learn that ambulances were ferrying away bodies and the injured outside the stadium.

    The match resumed after a 10-minute break and Gor Mahia won 1-0.

    Jack Oguda, CEO of the KPL, said that he could not understand why fans could not get in properly because the stadium was not full.

    "A gate was broken into by fans forcing their way into the stadium," Oguda said.

    "Access was limited and they got agitated and that's why they forced their way in. We'll start an inquiry into the matter to establish why fans could not access the stadium."

    But our correspondent said that this was a recurring problem and the organisers were partly to blame for the chaos and confusion.

    "The biggest problem is that organisers of such events sell tickets on the day of the match, at the venue, which is contrary to international standards where people buy tickets in advance."

    She said that this is something that is often talked about, though nothing seems to change.

    "Management should ensure that gates are open on time to avoid a mad rush to the stadium during games of this magnitude," Zedekiah Otieno, Gor Mahia coach, said.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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