How Many Teams Go Through In World Cup Qualifiers African Football: A Chronology Of Tragedies On And Off The Field Of Play

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African Football: A Chronology Of Tragedies On And Off The Field Of Play

Professional football as a competitive sport has had its fair share of tragedies over the years. Apart from tragedies on the playing field, spectators have not been spared either.

Perhaps the darkest day in African football is the plane crash of April 27, 1993, when 18 members of the Zambian national team and 12 technical and crew members died when their plane plunged into the sea off the coast of Gabon.

Tragedy cuts across continents, and that fact was confirmed during a League match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirate. A stampede at the Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg resulted in the deaths of 43 people, the worst disaster in South African sporting history.

Africa saw yet another sporting tragedy when a local league match between Lupopo and TP Mazembe on 30 April 2001 resulted in the death of 14 people during a stampede following mass trouble at a major league match in the city of Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Nigerian sporting family witnessed one of the most horrific football tragedies on 23 December 2008, when nine female amateur footballers and two coaches were burnt to death in a car accident on their way from Jos, Plateau state.

The tears of sadness had barely dried, when 15 members of an amateur team, FC Jimeta from Adamawa state, Nigeria, died in another car accident on the 26th of January 2009.

Twelve of the dead were players, while the other three were coaches.

Extreme heat and overcrowding led to the death of 4 soccer fans at a Ghana League match between Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oaks in Kumasi on Sunday February 8, 2009.

On the 21st of February 2009, 13 football fans of the Nigerian Premier League team Ocean Boys FC from Yenegoa were killed by suspected cultists on their way to attend a premier league match involving their team and Bayelsa United at the Township Stadium Ughelli in Delta State, Nigeria.

Tragedy struck at the Stade Felix Houphout-Boigny stadium in Abidjan, when Cote d’ivoire hosted Malawi, as 22 football fans were crushed to death when a fence collapsed as they tried to enter the packed stadium in already, during the 2010 World Cup Qualifier.

Footballers are also not spared from these tragedies, which often happen either on or off the field of play.

Below is a list of African footballers who have died on the field.

  • Samuel Okwaraji (Nigeria) – died of a heart attack on August 12, 1989
  • Amir Angwe (Nigeria) – died of a heart attack on October 29, 1995
  • George Iginewari (Nigeria) – died of a gunshot wound in 1995
  • Elusen Tunde (Nigeria) – died of a head injury in 1997
  • Emmanuel Nwanegbo (Nigeria) – died of heart failure on August 30, 1997
  • Shamo Quaye (Ghana) – died while training with the team on November 30, 1997
  • John Ikoroma (Nigeria) – died of a heart attack on February 2000
  • Charles Esheko (Nigeria) – died of cardiac arrest on July 14, 2001
  • Marc-Vivien Fo (Cameroon) – died of a heart attack on 26 June 2003
  • Sam Okoye (Nigeria) – died after a short illness on August 2005
  • Chaswe Nsofwa (Zambia) – died of heart failure on August 29, 2007
  • Guy Tchingoma (Congo DR) – died of a heart condition on February 9, 2009
  • George Katete (Congo DR) – died of a heart attack on 5 March 2009
  • Orobosa Adun (Nigeria) – collapsed and died on May 26, 2009
  • Endurance Idahor (Nigeria) – died of an attack on March 13, 2010

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