The July 6 Bingu National Stadium (BNS) stampede, which killed eight people in Lilongwe, continues to send shock waves across the world with Fifa President, Gianni Infantino, sending condolences to his Football Association of Malawi (Fam) counterpart, Walter Nyamilandu.
Nyamilandu, whose association kept mum on the day of the stampede, yesterday confirmed that Infantino wrote him on the tragedy that left 62 people injured as they pushed and shoved while trying to watch a free-of-charge 53rd Anniversary Celebrations’ game
between Silver Strikers and Nyasa Big Bullets. Hours after the tragedy, Bullets won the game 2-1.
“On behalf of Fifa and in my own name, I extend my sincere condolences to you, your association, the clubs NMC Big Bullets and Silver Strikers, as well as the entire football community in Malawi.
“Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who have died, as well as the injured victims, and the international football family extends its greatest sympathy to them at this due moment in time. We hope that this message of solidarity may, in some small way, be a source of support and comfort for them,” Gianni wrote on July 12.
Fifa’s message follows a statement which Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) President, Paul Chiyangwa, released a day after the incident.
Fam did not issue a press release on the day of the tragedy. Nyamilandu said they published condolence messages in newspapers.
“The matter is being handled by the Organising Committee of the Independence Day Celebrations at the government level to ensure consistency with communication, otherwise, Fam is equally concerned with the stampede that occurred and the subsequent fatalities,” Nyamilandu said yesterday.
Fam has since assigned its Marketing and Commercial Director, Limbani Matola, to serve in the task force, which President Peter Mutharika, formed to investigate the tragedy within two weeks.
“He will be based in Lilongwe for the entire duration of the investigations,” Nyamilandu said.
Office of the President’s Principal Secretary (PS), Zangazanga Chikhosi, chairs that committee, which comprises Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security PS Sam Madula, Steven Kayuni from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development PS, Joseph Mwandidya.
Preliminary findings suggest that the stamped occurred because the facility’s gates were opened late at 10:00 am instead of 6:00 am as advised. Fingers have pointed at the organising committee
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