One killed, at least 37 injured in stampede ahead of Nations Cup qualifier

The stampede occurred at the entrance to the venue just before kickoff. (AFP pic)

ANTANANARIVO: One person has died and at least 37 have been injured in a stampede before kick-off that marred an African Nations Cup qualifier between Madagascar and Senegal in Antananarivo on Sunday.

Local hospital officials confirmed the fatality, according to French radio station RFI, as thousands of fans rushed to enter the Stade Municipal de Mahamasina in the country’s capital ahead of the eagerly-awaited fixture.

Spectators had been queuing outside the venue since early morning for the 2.30pm (1230 GMT) kick-off and when the gates were opened there was a rush to enter the venue.

Deaths at stadiums have been all too frequent on the African continent in the past as poor policing and marshalling of spectators at usually over-crowded venues has provided a recipe for tragedy.

The Nations Cup qualifier in Madagascar went ahead as scheduled in front of a capacity crowd and ended in a 2-2 draw.