Six people die in Guinea celebrating win over Gambia at Africa Cup of Nations

Guinea supporters cheer during their Afcon match against Gambia (AFP via Getty Images)
Guinea supporters cheer during their Afcon match against Gambia (AFP via Getty Images)

Six people have died in Guinea celebrating the country’s win over Gambia at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Guinea’s 1-0 win at the tournament, which is being hosted in neighbouring Ivory Coast, was only their third Afcon win in the past decade, and gave them hope of qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition.

The victory sparked wild scenes back home as people took to the streets in cars and on motorcycles in the Guinean capital, Conakry, on Friday night. According to Agence France Presse, many revellers sat on car bonnets as they raced around the city.

The Guinean football federation confirmed the deaths, along with a number of injuries. Three people died when two vehicles travelling at high speed collided, it was reported.

Former Guinea star Pascal Feindouno called for calm. “I have a message to send to Guinean men and women,” Feindouno told the BBC in Yamoussoukro, where the national team are based.

“Rest assured that we will do something at the Nations Cup but we have learned something that will destabilise us. We learned there were deaths after the victory against The Gambia. We want this to stop because we are here to defend the colours of the country.

“Everything is going well for us at the moment so support the country but don’t do anything to kill each other or oneself. Stay calm. Thank you.”

A spokesperson for the Guinea football federation added: “What is important is that our fans and the public celebrate in a very measured fashion. 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 mourn, so we call on everyone to celebrate but to take care of themselves so that nothing happens to them.

“Guinea is a country where people are very, very passionate about football and they experience football like nowhere else in the world.”

Guinea’s win was made more dramatic by Aguibou Camara’s late winning goal. It moved his nation up to second in Group C with four points, two behind defending champions Senegal and three ahead of third-placed Cameroon. The top-two will automatically qualify to the knockout stages, and the third-placed side may also progress.

Guinea next play on Tuesday when they meet Senegal in Yamoussoukro for their final group game.