At least seven children were among the victims of a stampede at the venue of a novelty match in Malawi, police reports confirm.
Eight people were confirmed dead and dozens more were injured in the crush at Lilongwe’s Bingu national stadium.
The stampede reportedly happened as thousands of people tried to find seats ahead of a friendly between top sides Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers.
President Peter Mutharika has offered his condolences and said the government will do all it can to assist the families of the bereaved.
He said he was shocked to learn of the tragedy.
The BBC’s Frank Kandu in Malawi said gates at the 40,000-capacity stadium were supposed to open at 06:30 local time to allow free entry of people – but there was a delay of about three hours.
However, thousands had already turned up, and some tried to force their way in, prompting the police to fire tear gas.
Inspector General of Police Lexan Kachama told Reuters news agency he expected the number of casualties to rise.
The football match was being held as part of events to mark the 53rd anniversary of Malawi’s independence from British colonial rule.
Culled from BBC Sport
If you use the quotes from this content, you legally agree to give www.brila.net the News credit as the source and a backlink to our story. Copyright 2020 Brila Media.