SOUTH AFRICA – With just days before the World Cup begins, the host country experiences a security scare!
An exhibition match between Nigeria and North Korea took a turn for the worse as 15 people were injured when thousands of soccer fans stampeded outside a stadium on Sunday. Among the injured was a police officer who was left in serious condition.
The event happened at the Makhulong Stadium in Johannesburg which seats roughly 12,000 fans. Fans fell under the rush of people, many of whom were wearing Nigeria jerseys. The chaos comes at a bad time as the World Cup is only five days away from commencing, the first time the tournament will be held in Africa.
“At this moment we have 14 civilians that were slightly injured in the process, one policeman seriously injured,” police spokesman Lt. Col. Eugene Opperman said outside the stadium. Opperman said tickets for the game were given out for free outside the stadium.
“What then occurred was large groups of people gathered outside the gates wanting to come in and wanting to get free tickets. Unfortunately in the process, the gates were opened and there was a stampede,” Opperman said.
World soccer’s governing body FIFA said it wished a prompt recovery to those hurt. In a statement, it said the match had no relation with the operational organization of the World Cup, for which FIFA remained “fully confident.” The governing body added that contrary to some media reports, FIFA had nothing to do with the ticketing of the game, which ended in a 3-1 win for Nigeria.