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Senegalese Rival Clubs Make Peace After Tragic Stadium Stampede

US Ouakam and Stade de Mbour make peace one year after the tragic stadium stampede.

Stones were pelted, scores got injured in chaotic scenes as rival club supporters clashed.

Police fired tear gas in efforts to quell what was already a free-for-all brawl.

Part of the stands collapsed as blood oozed from some of the faces. It was the Senegalese League Cup final between US Ouakam and Stade de Mbour.

At least eight fans died in the ugly melee at the Stade Demba Diop while many more were injured and stretchered off onboard a waiting ambulance headed for the country’s main referral hospital, a distance not far from the disaster.

Prior to that, visiting side Mbour were leading 2-1 in extra-time. President Macky Sall declared a national day of mourning. The unfortunate action occurred barely 24 hours before the much hyped wrestling combat between Modou Lo and Lac de Guier II which later had to be put off owing to the poor shape of the stadium.

A panel investigating the issue initially found Ouakam culpable and slammed a seven-year ban on the club before it later reduced the suspension to five years which was then to be served along with demotion to the regional league.

However, that verdict was deemed high-handed. The Court of  Arbitration for Sports (CAS) findings did not consider Ouakam solely responsible, saying tear gas released by the police to some extent contributed and sparked the pandemonium and hence the ugly scenes.

Consequently, CAS lifted the 5-year ban on the grounds that the Dakar-based outfit plays the rest of the season behind closed doors.

Days following this pronouncement, the victims’ families cried foul, urging for tougher sanctions to be imposed on the club.

One year on, the tears have not dried but the masses have moved on including the two clubs.

Officials of both teams met this week to forge a way forward on the initiative of the president of the Senegalese Professional League Salioum Samb and Stade de Mbour’s boss Saer Seck.

The Union Sportif Ouakam’s delegation paid their respects to the departed souls at the meeting as both teams agreed to hold an annual charity game in memory of the fallen supporters.

This may not return the dead but it’s being hoped that it will attempt to heal the wounds.

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