One person has died and at least 37 have been injured in a stampede outside the Mahamasina Stadium, Antananarivo ahead of Madagascar’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Senegal on Sunday.
According to RFI, supporters attempting to get into the stadium prompted a stampede outside the entrance, where spectators had been queuing since early morning for the 2.30pm (1230 GMT) kick-off.
“The supporters wanted to get in but the gate was closed because the stands were full,” said police chief Herilalatiana Andrianarisaona, as per the French source.
“The people in front couldn’t step back, and other people arrived behind them in some numbers,” he added. “This is what provoked the stampede.”
The HJRA hospital in Antananarivo confirmed that, provisionally, one person had died and a further 37 have been injured, with the Madagascan Ministry of Youth and Sport publishing a list of the injured on their Official Facebook page.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Tsihoara Faratiana, has already visited the wounded in hospital along with the Minister of Health.
A minute’s silence was observed before the match, in which the Barea twice battled back to hold Senegal to a 2-2 draw.
African football is no stranger to stadium deaths, with poor crowd control, overzealous policing, inadequate facilities and fan misbehaviour all leading to a series of incidents at stadiums across the continent over the last few decades.