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FireNews : Cameroon minister hopeful Olembe can host Afcon final #FireNews365

Cameroon’s Sports Ministry is hopeful the Olembe Stadium can host matches again at the Africa Cup of Nations after filing its report into Monday’s fatal crush to the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

Eight supporters, including an eight-year-old boy, lost their lives outside the stadium on Monday ahead of Cameroon’s win over Comoros.

The ministry has adopted a raft of measures, including a ban on children under 11 attending games, it believes will enhance safety.

“We filed the report on Friday and now we are waiting,” Narcisse Mouelle Kombi told BBC Sport Africa.

Caf has previously said it will not consider using Yaounde’s Olembe Stadium, earmarked to host a semi-final and the final itself, until it received the report.

The BBC has asked Caf it has received the report but has yet to hear back.

Kombi announced extensive additional measures on Friday night, as he outlined where he believed errors had been made and what improvements can be made.

These include:

  • Additional security checkpoints in perimeter area
  • Increase in the number of police
  • Increase in number of entry points
  • Ban on children under 11 attending games
  • Suspension of free ticket distribution to supporters
  • Ban of matchday ticket sales
  • Provision of a bracelet to mark negative Covid test
  • Move Covid testing further away from stadium
  • Asking public to arrive earlier for matches
  • Increase in video surveillance at Olembe complex

“We have good hopes [Olembe can be used again] given the fact we have gone beyond what Caf required from us, so we are convinced the original schedule for Olembe will be reinstated,” Kombi, who heads up the local organising committee, said.

“We hope [the semi-final can be played at Olembe] but in any case, the final must be played there.”

In addition to the tragedy that took place outside Olembe’s main southern entrance, there were security breaches at the turnstiles themselves.

These came after supporters – some with tickets, and some without – grew impatient at the slow rate of entry.

Video footage filmed by fans show scenes of multiple breaches of security by fans either climbing over the gates or rushing through them.

Cameroon has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on stadiums for this Nations Cup but its two flagships arenas – the Olembe Stadium and Douala’s Japoma Stadium – have lost games during the finals.

While Olembe’s was a result of Monday’s disaster, the Japoma Stadium’s poor surface means that one quarter-final and a semi-final have been moved away.

Yaounde’s Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium, which was built to host Cameroon’s last Nations Cup in 1972, has stepped in to host both these latter games.

Additional reporting by Victoire Eyoum

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