CONAKRY, Guinea — In the aftermath of Guinea Conakry’s 1-0 victory over Gambia at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), six lives were tragically lost in Conakry during celebrations that erupted across the city. The win, marking only Guinea’s third AFCON victory in the past decade, rekindled hopes of advancing to the knockout stages of the tournament being hosted in Ivory Coast.
The jubilant scenes unfolded on Friday night as Guineans flooded the streets, adorning cars and motorcycles, revelling in the joy of their national team’s success. However, the jubilations turned tragic as accidents marred the celebrations, resulting in the deaths of six individuals and numerous injuries.
According to Agence France Presse, three people lost their lives when two speeding vehicles collided during the chaotic festivities.
Former Guinea football star Pascal Feindouno, now in Yamoussoukro with the national team, conveyed a plea for calm to the Guinean populace. “Rest assured that we will do something at the Nations Cup, but we have learned something that will destabilize us. We want this to stop because we are here to defend the colors of the country,” Feindouno told the BBC.
Guinea’s football federation confirmed the fatalities and echoed the call for measured celebrations. “We do not want deaths to mourn, so we call on everyone to celebrate but to take care of themselves so that nothing happens to them,” emphasized a federation spokesperson.
In a video shared on social media, the Guinea soccer team’s coach and players appealed to fans to celebrate responsibly, expressing deep sadness over the loss of supporters during the post-match revelry.
Guinea’s win, sealed by Aguibou Camara’s late goal, propelled the nation to second place in Group C with four points, trailing behind defending champions Senegal by two points and leading third-placed Cameroon by three. The top two teams automatically qualify for the knockout stages, with the possibility for the third-placed side to progress.
Despite the tragic turn of events, the focus now shifts to Guinea’s upcoming clash with Senegal in Yamoussoukro. As the team prepares for their final group game, the call for celebration with caution remains at the forefront, emphasizing the importance of joy without jeopardizing lives.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of some of our supporters during the celebrations of the win over Gambia. Celebrate carefully and take care of yourselves,” urged the Guinea soccer federation on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, late Sunday, reiterating the need for a balance between celebration and safety.