COUNCIL of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) President, Phillip Chiyangwa, has sent condolences to Malawi following the death of eight soccer fans in a sickening stampede at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on Thursday.
The fans, including seven children, died during the pushing and shoving that ensued while they were trying to force their way into the stadium to watch a friendly match between crowd pullers Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers.
Chiyangwa, who is also Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) President, has sent the condolences through a statement released on Cosafa’s website.
“It is a saddening incident that cuts deep into our hearts and souls, and the very soul of the game that such a tragedy has claimed so many lives, including those of seven children,” Chiyangwa told www.cosafa.com
“During this difficult period, we mourn with the people of Malawi and pray that they will find comfort in the hands of the Lord. We also pray for a speedy recovery of the injured.
“The sad irony of it is that what should have been a joyous day of celebration of Uhuru, marking their 53rd Independence Anniversary, ended in tragedy.
“On behalf of Cosafa and Zifa and on my own behalf, we are sorry for the incident and may their dear souls rest in eternal peace.”
However, as we went to press Football Association of Malawi had not released a statement over the tragedy. Hours after the incident, President Peter Mutharika sent condolences to families of the deceased and visited the injured at Kamuzu Central Hospital.
The government organised the match as part of the country’s 53rd independence anniversary celebrations.
Bullets beat Silver 2-1 hours after the tragedy which occurred in the morning amid reports that gates were opened late and that matters were worsened by the police’s firing of teargas.
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