Tragedies in Zambia and Sierra Leone
The worldwide football community suffered two tragedies in Africa at the start of June. On 2 June, twelve fans lost their lives in a stampede, following an African Cup of Nations qualifying match between Zambia and Congo. The following day, the Togolese Minister of Sport and several officials from the Togo football association were among the victims when a helicopter crashed in Freetown (Sierra Leone) as the party made its way home from the African Cup of Nations qualifier between Sierra Leone and Togo. FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter was deeply saddened by the two disasters: “the football family is greatly distressed to hear of the misfortune that has occurred in Sierra Leone and Zambia. Our pain at these losses is all the greater given, that they both occurred only a few days after 57th FIFA Congress in Zurich.”
FIFA and its president have expressed their heartfelt condolences to the associations affected, their national governments, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the relatives of the victims. In a telephone conversation with CAF President and FIFA vice-president Issa Hayatou, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter was informed of the steps being taken by CAF and the Zambian government to determine the causes of the stadium tragedy.