• Monday, March 04, 2024
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BusinessDay

AFCON: Dark moment for Guinea as fans die while celebrating team’s victory

Guinea-fans

Six Guineans have died in Conakry while celebrating the country’s 1-0 win over Gambia in a Group C match of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) at the Charles Konan Banny stadium on Friday.

Aguibou Camara scored the winner to move the Syli National star of Guinea third on four points in Group C after playing a 1-1 draw with Cameroon in their opening match and igniting their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition.

The victory sparked reactions in Guinea as hundreds of fans took to the streets in cars and on motorcycles in Conakry. According to Agence France Presse, many revellers sat on car bonnets as they raced around the city.

According to BBC, three people died when two vehicles collided at high speed while several dozen others were injured in road accidents, a police source told Agence France Presse who added that many fans drove around on car bonnets as the capital’s roads filled up in celebration.

The Guinean football federation (Feguifoot) and former star Pascal Feindouno have called for calm after supporters died back home celebrating Guinea’s first win at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations.

“I have a message to send to Guinean men and women,” the 42-year-old, who played at four AFCONs, told the BBC in Yamoussoukro, where the team are based.

“Rest assured that we will do something at the Nations Cup but we have learned something that will destabilise us. We learned there were deaths after the victory against The Gambia – we want this to stop because we are here to defend the colours of the country.

“What is important is that our fans and the public celebrate in a very measured fashion.

“Guinea is a country where people are very, very passionate about football and they experience football like nowhere else in the world.”

“Everything is going well for us at the moment so support the country but don’t do anything to kill each other or oneself. Stay calm – thank you.”

The Guinea national team enjoys strong support because of its proximity to Ivory Coast. Many supporters have travelled from Conakry, which is about 1,000 miles away, by road, among other places.