Afcon to return to Olembe Stadium, site of deadly crush

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The Africa Cup of Nations will return to the newly built Olembe Stadium in Yaounde for a semi-final match on Thursday, as well as Sunday’s final, despite a crush at the venue in which eight people were killed last Monday.

They crush came about as spectators tried to gain entry to the venue for the last-16 match between hosts Cameroon and the Comoros Islands. A further seven people were seriously injured.

The incident led to a scheduled quarter-final game on Sunday being taken away from the venue. But the Confederation of African Football said they were confident the last two matches scheduled for the 60,000-seater venue could go ahead.

It will be used next on Thursday, when Cameroon meet Egypt in the semi-final, and then for the final next Sunday.

CAF said they had accepted guarantees from the Cameroon government that extra security provisions would be put in place.

“The CAF Organising Committee unanimously agreed to lift the suspension imposed on the Olembe Stadium and are confident that the safety and security of spectators and visitors will be assured,” the confederation said in a statement on Sunday.

Over the weekend, Cameroon Sports Minister Narcisse Mouelle Kombi said the disaster had happened because one of the stadium gates was shut when it should have been open, and because there was a lack of security and selling of counterfeit tickets.

There had been concerns over whether Olembe Stadium would be ready ahead of the tournament, with work on it still being completed days before the group stage matches began.