Tragedy hits AFCON qualifiers

JOHANNESBURG. – At least one person was killed and 37 were injured in a stampede at a football stadium in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo, hospital sources said yesterday.

The stampede occurred at the entrance to the venue just before kick-off between Madagascar and Senegal, the city’s Hrja Hospital spokesman Oliva Alain Rakoto told reporters, adding that “for the moment” the accident toll is one dead and 37 injured. Witnesses said thousands of fans had been massed outside Mahamasina Stadium since early in the morning.

Senegal were held to a 2-2 stalemate by Madagascar in the match. The draw saw the Lions of Teranga remain at the top of the Group A standings, while the hosts remained second on the table.

Madagascar went into this game having secured a surprise 3-1 win over Sudan away in their maiden game in the qualifying campaign in June 2017, while the Lions of Teranga opened their campaign with a convincing 3-0 victory over the 2015 Afcon hosts Equatorial Guinea at home over a year ago.

The deadlock was broken four minutes before the half-hour mark, and it was Moussa Konate who hit the back of the net. The Madagascar defence failed to deal with Salif Sane’s long pass and the ball fell for Konate, who scored with a first shot to make it 1-0 to Senegal.

Barea then pushed for the equalising goal with the half-time break fast approaching. The hosts managed to level matters through Paulin Voavy, who is on the books of Egyptian Premier League club Misr lel-Makkasa.

The forward beat Senegal’s Italy-based goalkeeper Alfred Gomis to make it 1-1 for Madagascar on the stroke of half-time.

The score was 1-1 at the interval following a lively first half. Barea came back rejuvenated after their half-time team talk with French coach Nicolas Dupuis.

However, it was the visitors who scored the next goal through Italy-based forward Keita Balde Diao two minutes after the hour-mark.

The Inter Milan attacker beat Madagascar keeper Jean Dieu-Donne Randrianasolo to make it 2-1 to Senegal following a brilliant solo run.

The lead only lasted for six minutes as the home side managed to restore parity following a mistake by the Lions of Teranga defence.

Senegal’s highly-rated defender Kalidou Koulibaly scored an unfortunate own-goal to make it 2-2 for Madagascar, much to the delight of the home crowd.

Madagascar then contained Senegal in the dying minutes of the game, and the game ended in a 2-2 draw.

Ghana suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat to 10-man Kenya in a Group F 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Moi International Sports Centre in Nairobi on Saturday afternoon.

Nicholas Opoku’s own goal was the difference between the two teams in the Kenyan capital as the Harambee Stars clinched an historic win over their more fancied opponents.

Kenya ended the game with 10-men, with Joash Onyango seeing red for the hosts just after the hour mark.

Former Dutch star Clarence Seedorf made a disappointing debut as Cameroon coach when they were held 1-1 by minnows Comoros on Saturday in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

The outcome could have been even worse for the 42-year-old ex-Real Madrid midfielder as his side fell behind after 15 minutes and levelled with only 10 minutes remaining.

Before succeeding Belgian Hugo Broos in June, Seedorf had unsuccessful spells as manager of AC Milan, Shenzhen and Deportivo la Coruna that lasted less than six months each.

He is being assisted by another former Dutch star, Patrick Kluivert, and ex-France international Jean Alain Boumsong is also part of the new coaching staff.

Reigning African champions Cameroon were ranked 47 in the world this month – 102 places above Comoros, a three-island state in southeastern Africa.

But the five-time Cup of Nations winners fell behind when El Fardou Ben Mohamed from Red Star Belgrade scored off a cross on an artificial Mitsamiouli pitch in humid conditions.

Cameroon often struggled to contain the islanders until Stephane Bahoken, who plays for French top-flight outfit Angers, equalised.

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