THOUSANDS of football fans stampeded outside a stadium yesterday before a World Cup warm-up match between Nigeria and North Korea, leaving 10 people injured.
Several fans could be seen falling under the rush of people, many wearing Nigeria jerseys. The Makhulong Stadium in Thembisa, Ekurhuleni, seats about 12000 fans.
"Ten people, among them a police officer, were injured," police spokesperson Colonel Hangwani Mulaudzi said.
"This is a friendly game and fans were excited to see their heroes, who will be participating in the World Cup."
Mulaudzi said since this was a friendly game, the Nigerian team, designated the hosts, were responsible for security. Once trouble broke out the police stepped in to control the situation.
A a South Africa rugby jersey and bleeding from the head, said the crowd overpowered him.
"I fell and people just fell over me," Japhta Mombelo said.
The first rush came when the gates opened to allow fans into the stadium. Police soon closed the gates, but when they were reopened a second rush occurred, with more people falling and being knocked over.
Shortly after the second rush the gates were closed again and much of the crowd dissipated. - Sapa-AP