The Nigeria Football Federation has stoutly denied a report making the rounds that five football fans died during stampede at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium before Saturday’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Zambia.
Nigeria won 1-0 courtesy a 74th minute goal by Alex Iwobi to become the first African country to qualify for the Russia 2018, but a report claimed some persons died while trying to enter the arena for the big match.
“There is absolutely no truth to the report that some fans died. Naturally, considering the nature of the particular match, so many fans wanted to watch the match live, and there were some pushing and shoving at the gates.
“We are in contact with the Akwa Ibom State Government and we can confirm that nobody died. A few persons suffered injuries but they are in hospital and their progress is being monitored,” NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, said on Sunday.
Victory over Zambia marked only the second time in history that the Eagles would reach the World Cup finals with a match to spare, and Sanusi appealed to ball fans and stakeholders not to dampen the mood of celebration with fictitious reports.
“This is a good period for Nigerian Football. Only a few weeks ago, the Super Eagles also qualified for the African Nations Championship. There is so much to celebrate. There is no reason for stories that emanate only from the imagination of persons.”