Monday, May 17, 2021

After Stadium Stampede Fears, Football House Vows Ticketing Overhaul

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By Sulayman Bah

Last weekend’s Africa Cup of Nations fixture had to be delayed over an hour amid fears over the players’ safety after supporters forced their way in beyond the stadium’s capacity.

It required intervention from captain of both teams including the match commissioner to ensure the match’s continuity, a thing of which irked Algeria’s coach Djamel Belmadi.

An estimated 40,000, though not confirmed, were said to have entered the stadium with others finding space around the pitch’s peripheries while thousands more with tickets stood stranded at the gates.

Miraculously, there were no reports of incidents after the crowd were told the home side risked incurring Caf’s wrath in the event of any rowdiness or trouble.

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The Gambia Football Federation came on the receiving end of sharp derides with majority accusing the Football House of profiteering at the expense of human lives.

In the wake of this, the FA responded via a media briefing held yesterday afternoon. Football boss Lamin Kabba Bajo attributed the crowd over-flood to, in one aspect, dishonesty in the sale of tickets and security issues.

‘I think I has more to do with the honesty of the individuals – and with the performance of the boys and expectation of the country, we will try our best to make sure such issues are averted if not minimized,’ he said, revealing 25,500 tickets were printed with VIP ones left unsold.

Harping further, Kabba hinted there would an overhaul of the system in future games with complete new faces to handle the sale of tickets which could extend to making intense scrutiny over those to be allowed in to watch matches.

Taking turns to speak, Lang Tombong Tamba dueled on the need for re-orientation of fans, denying rumours from the grapevine that Gambia got slapped a $10,000 by Caf for crowd trouble.

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