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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon stampede: Caf ring questionable venue changes

19:48 GMT 26/01/2022
Olembe stadium Yaounde Cameroon
The Confederation of African Football have issued a series of Nations Cup venue changes in light of Monday’s deadly stadium crush

Three Africa Cup of Nations matches will change venues in light of Monday’s deadly stadium stampede at the Stade d’Olembe, according to a Confederation of African Football statement as seen by GOAL, although it’s the Stade Japoma in Douala that has been the hardest hit by the rescheduling.

A stampede outside the Stade d’Olembe on Monday evening, ahead of Cameroon’s Round of 16 meeting with the Comoros, resulted in eight deaths, with 38 people injured, seven of whom are in serious condition.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Caf President Dr Patrice Motsepe announced that the Stade d’Olembe would not be permitted to host any further Africa Cup of Nations matches until assurances had been given regarding safety measures in place at the arena.

However, the site of Monday’s tragedy isn’t the only venue to be affected by the fixture changes announced on Wednesday, with the Stade Japoma in Douala losing two matches to Olembe’s one.

The quarter-final—scheduled for Olembe on January 30—has been moved to Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in the centre of the capital, Yaounde, while two of the three matches that were still to be played in Douala have been removed from the city.

Both the 30 January quarter-final in Douala, and the February 2 semi-final scheduled for the country’s economic capital have been taken away from the city—despite there being no security issues reported at Stade Japoma during the competition—and relocated to the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo.

Douala will still host the January 29 quarter-final between Cameroon and Gambia.

Despite the deaths at Olembe on Monday, the stadium is still due to host the second semi-final—which will feature the winner of Cameroon vs Gambia—on Thursday February 3, as well as the final three days later.

While Japoma has not been at the centre of any security concerns during the seven matches it has hosted so far, it has come under scrutiny due to the state of the pitch, although the teams who have played at the venue have described the playing surface as passable.

Caf have also reiterated their desire to get to the bottom of the circumstances that led to Monday’s deadly crush, and reaffirmed that no further matches will be played at Olembe until guarantees can be made about the venue’s safety.

“The next match that was scheduled for the Olembe Stadium will not take place until CAF and the Local Organising Committee have received the full report of the Investigation Committee (into the Olembe incident) indicating the circumstances and events that led to the injury and death of spectators at the Olembe Stadium,” read a statement as seen by GOAL.

“The Caf Afcon Organising Committee also requires the assurance and guarantee that appropriate and adequate interventions and measures have been implemented to ensure that a similar incident will not occur at the Olembe Stadium during the TotalEnergies Afcon Cameroon 2021.”

Caf are yet to clarify why original plans to move the 30 January quarter-final—involving Senegal—from Douala to Limbe have been shelved.