At least nineteen people were killed in a stampede at a World Cup qualifier football match in Abidjan, between hosts Ivory Coast and Malawi, according to officials.
AFP - Fans desperate to see top football stars stampeded in an Abidjan stadium during a World Cup on Sunday killing at least 19 people and leaving hundreds injured, many in critical condition, a medical source said.
Scores of fans with tickets forced their way into the Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Ivory Coast's biggest city after the match against Malawi started, the source told AFP.
Police were said to have fired tear gas to control crowds and the stampede was followed by a wall collapse, according to the source.
"Nineteen people were killed and hundreds injured, some in a very serious condition," the source said.
Many casualties were treated at the stadium as the match went ahead and the worst injured were taken to the Treichville hospital in Abidjan and a military hospital.
The stadium has an official capacity of 35,000 but was packed with fans eager to see Ivory Coast's European-based stars such as Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou of Chelsea and Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue of Arsenal play in the World Cup qualifying match.
Drogba scored twice and Kalou once in the game which the hosts won 5-0 as the drama unfolded.
Most of the Ivory Coast national team plays for clubs in England, France and other European championships.
The country's interior and sports ministers were locked in an emergency meeting with leaders of the Ivory Coast Football Federation (FIF) late Sunday following the disaster, FIF president Albert Kakou Anzouan told AFP.
Hundreds of people have been killed in stadium riots and stampedes in Africa over the last decade.
Date created : 2009-03-29