/ 7 March 2005

Stampede at Chiefs match in Madagascar

No Kaizer Chiefs fans were among those injured in a stampede in Madagascar on Sunday during a soccer match between the South African team and the USJF Ravinala soccer club.

”I can confirm that there were no Kaizer Chiefs soccer fans present in that stadium except for one gentleman from our embassy there,” Chiefs spokesperson Putco Mafani said on Monday.

International news agencies reported that 47 people were injured in the stampede. Six of them were reported to be in a coma.

Mafani, who witnessed the events, said: ”We saw people being taken away in ambulances. But I cannot confirm the figures.”

Things went awry when hundreds of soccer fans tried to force their way into an already packed stadium in Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo.

Mafani said chaos broke out just before the kick-off when fans started pushing their way in, breaking down gates and trampling each other. He blamed a lack of security.

”It was obvious to us. There was not enough security at the stadium. There were few police manning the VIP area and the grandstand,” said Mafani.

”But there was no visible policing in the areas were the ordinary people were seated,” said Mafani.

Police in Madagascar have refused to comment ahead of an official investigation into the matter. – Sapa