Namibia Expresses Its Sorrow

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By Kuvee Kangueehi

WINDHOEK

Namibia’s victory over Libya in the African Nations Cup qualifier match on Saturday was overshadowed by news that 12 soccer supporters were killed in a stampede at a soccer stadium in Zambia. Yesterday the President of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) John Muinjo wrote a letter to his counterpart in Zambia and expressed his condolecences.

In the letter to Teddy Mulonga, Muinjo said he had learned with great shock and disbelief of a tragedy that has again hit the family of football in Zambia.

“I am writing to you to ensure you of the support of the Namibian people in your terrible hour of bereavement.” Muinjo asked Mulonga to extend the message from the Namibian people to affected families. He said as football fans, they will in spirit be with the Zambian people as they mourn the unfortunate loss of life at a football match.

Meanwhile, reports from Zambia state that President Levy Mwanawasa has ordered an inquiry into the cause of the stampede that killed 12 supporters after an African Cup of Nations game.

Mwanawasa said he was saddened by the deaths after the game against Congo.

He has also asked authorities to immediately put in place measures to prevent similar problems in the future.

“The president has called for an enquiry to establish the cause of the accident,” Mwanawasa’s spokesman John Musukuma told state television.

The stampede on Saturday evening left 46 others wounded at the Chililabombwe stadium where Zambia beat Congo 3-0 in an African Nations Cup qualifier.

Twelve people were still being treated in hospital while the rest have been discharged after treatment, Sports Minister Gabriel Namulambe said in a statement.

“Those who are admitted are in a stable condition,” Namulambe added.

Preliminary investigations indicated that the accident had been caused by a group of supporters outside the stadium who attempted to gain entry when the match had finished, said the minister.

Earlier Regional Chief of Police Antoneil Mutenthwa had said: “Too many fans tried to squeeze through the few exits available.”

It is thought none of the travelling contingent from Congo was injured.

Provincial minister Mwansa Mbulakulima is expected to travel to the region to assess the situation. Kick-off at the game had earlier been delayed as officials waited for the stadium to fill up.

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