Monday, March 30, 2009

For the Love of the Game: When Football turns Tragic

It has happened yet again; a stampede during a football game has led to multiple tragic deaths on the African continent. Yesterday, a world cup qualifier match between Cote d'Ivoire and Malawi in Abidjan turned catastrophic when a post-match stampede led to the deaths of 19 people and injuries to about 130.
It was supposed to be a joyous occasion. After all, Didier Drogba, currently one of the best strikers on the planet, was making his triumphant return to international football on home soil. Perhaps that is precisely why thousands of fans tried to push their way into the stadium eventually leading to the catastrophic stampede. Ghana is no stranger to football disasters. Who can forget the May 9th 2001 disaster when a match between arch-rivals Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak held in Accra led to the deaths of 126 people? Just like in Ghana, I'm sure there will be commissions set up to determine what went wrong. Hopefully something concrete will come out of the investigations. What is it about 'the beautiful game' that can inspire violence, hooliganism and riots in Europe; murder in South America and at the same time expose some of the major infrastructural/organisational flaws in Africa?

31 March 2009: It turns out that the stampede actually happened before the match started and the authorities still decided to go ahead with the game. Just when you thought things were bad enough!

9 comments:

abbynah said...

so sad! football seems to bring out the most basic versions of people!

Abena said...

So true Abbynah! Strangely football/soccer does not seem to have that effect in America..

Anonymous said...

That's cos no one cares about soccer in the States....well...except grade school and high school girls, that is

Anonymous said...

@abena..for one Americans hate soccer..Talk about American football you may not see it but there is a lot violence at some of these games.ie games in oakland ete people get hurt.Personally if had my way will ban american football it is too violent..

Abena said...

Anonymous1 : That is an excellent observation. Soccer playing is indeed encouraged more amongst females in the US compared to males. On the plus side, the US Women's Soccer team pretty much rules the world.

Abena said...

Anonymous 2: Indeed, I can totally understand the lack of interest in soccer. During my time in college and beyond, I literally never understand American football or the fascination...well, I suppose attending a women's college meant we did not have a football team anyway!
I also find it fascinating that Americans have no interest in soccer but it sparks such rivalry and violence in Britain....

I'm always bemused by the British hooligans who are banned from traveling to Europe during big games and have to report to the police...

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

It could happen to anybody. To think you tell the peeps at home that you're going to support your country at the stadium, and not to come back again. That's so sad.

Abena said...

Indeed Nana Yaw, it seems like a senseless tragedy...Well, I suppose most tragedies don't make sense...

novisi said...

sad sad sad...