By Tata Mbunwe
The Confederation of African Football, CAF, has said it will be in touch with families of every one of the eight deceased victims’ of Monday’s stampede at the Olembe stadium.
CAF’s President, Dr. Patrice Motsepe, made the promise while addressing journalists at a press conference on Tuesday, aimed at addressing the emergency, which happened amid an ongoing 16 final game between Comoros and Cameroon.
“We are instructing every match that takes place now there will be an observance of silence and an observance of respect – the instruction has already been given – in recognition of… let me say CAF will be in touch with the families, with the families of the people who have passed on – every single one of them… And part of engaging with the families is to say how can we help?” Dr. Motsepe said.
Aside from canceling an upcoming quarterfinal game to hold at the Olembe stadium, CAF also ordered that the AFCON’s local organizing committee should investigate the incident and submit findings latest this Friday.
“The first thing I’m going to ask the organizing committee is the next match that is supposed to take place at Olembe should not take place… There must be an immediate committee that is set up to immediately investigate what happened and, in that context, to find out who was supposed to do what and who did not perform their responsibilities. We want that report by Friday,” said Motsepe.
“But as I said the game that is scheduled for Olembe, that is on Sunday is not going to take place. And I want to say this concerning government our partners it’s going to take place at the Ahmadou Ahidjou Stadium which is here in Yaounde,” Dr. Motsepe said.
He also warned that measures must be taken by the local organizing committee and the Cameroon Government to ensure fans’ security is guaranteed and such an incident never gets repeated in the ongoing tournament.
“There is zero tolerance, absolutely zero tolerance in circumstances that could result in people being injured in the stadium or people losing their lives.
“We have to take emergency and urgent steps now so I have called a meeting tomorrow of the AFCON organizing committee and I’ve also sought the guidance and advise of my vice president… and the starting point is very clear. I need or CAF needs a report on what happened; what should have happened – the circumstances that led to people being injured especially those who lost their lives; urgent emergency measures and steps to ensure that such a thing doesn’t happen again; we are all partners…,” he said.
*CAF Disciplinary Committee to meet*
After the investigations are published, Motsepe said, CAF’s Disciplinary Committee will be meeting to address the situation.
The committee’s duty will be to ascertain the cause of the incident for responsibility to be dished out.
CAF has already made it clear that, based on their legal agreements with the Cameroon Government, security during AFCON is the responsibility of the Local Organizing Committee and the government.
“When people get injured and when people lose their lives, the last thing I’m interested in finding out is who … it’s somebody else’s responsibility and not mine. We have to take collective responsibility and whatever the legalities maybe we have to deal with it later,” the CAF boss said.
He also hailed the Cameroon Government for collaborating with CAF throughout the competition as it runs through the second stage.
Host country Cameroon faces the Gambia in the days ahead for an opening into the semi-finals of the competition, after narrowly beating Comoros 2-1 at the 16 finals on Monday.