The Guinean football federation (Feguifoot) and former star Pascal Feindouno have issued calls for calm after supporters lost their lives in celebratory events following Guinea's first win at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d'Ivoire.
Guinea secured a 1-0 victory against The Gambia on Friday night, prompting widespread celebrations across the West African nation. However, the joyous atmosphere turned tragic as six people lost their lives during the celebratory gatherings in Conakry, the Guinean capital.
Feguifoot's Media Manager, Amadou Makadji, emphasized the importance of measured celebrations, stating, “They have to be very careful to not put themselves in danger because the goal of football is to bring joy and not leave families bereaved. We do not want deaths to be mourned, so we call on everyone to celebrate but to take care of themselves so that nothing happens to them.”
Guinea's passion for football is evident, and the nation experiences the sport like nowhere else in the world, according to Makadji.
Aguibou Camara's late goal secured Guinea's victory over The Gambia, moving them up to second in Group C with four points, two behind defending champions Senegal. The tragic incidents occurred as fans spilt onto the streets to celebrate the win.
Road accidents claimed three lives, with two vehicles colliding at high speed. Several dozen others sustained injuries during the celebration, with fans driving on car bonnets as the capital's roads filled up.
Pascal Feindouno, a former star player for Guinea, urged fans to remain calm, emphasizing the team's commitment to defending the country's colours. “Support the country but don't do anything to kill each other or oneself. Stay calm – thank you,” he said.
Guinea, well-supported in Ivory Coast, where the tournament is hosted, faces Senegal on Tuesday in another West African derby for the top spot in the group and the chance to advance to the second round, bidding to win their first title at the 14th attempt.