Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast: Joyous celebrations in Guinea following their first Africa Cup of Nations victory were marred by tragedy over the weekend, as six supporters lost their lives during the festivities.
The Guinean Football Federation (Feguifoot) confirmed the deaths, which occurred during a celebratory event in the capital Conakry. Fans had taken to the streets in cars and on motorcycles to celebrate the team’s hard-fought 1-0 win over The Gambia.
“What is important is that our fans and the public celebrate in a very measured fashion,” Feguifoot media manager Amadou Makadji told BBC Sport Africa. “They have to be very careful not to put themselves in danger, because the goal of football is to bring joy and not leave families bereaved.”
Makadji’s plea for calm came amid concerns about the passionate nature of Guinean football fans. “Guinea is a country where people are very, very passionate about football and they experience football like nowhere else in the world,” he said.
Meanwhile, former national team player Pascal Feindouno echoed the call for restraint. “I have a message to send to Guinean men and women,” said the 42-year-old, who played in four Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. “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.”
Feindouno urged fans to celebrate responsibly and avoid putting themselves or others at risk. “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,” he said.
The tragedy casts a shadow over Guinea’s impressive start to the Africa Cup of Nations. The Syli Nationales currently sit second in Group C with four points, behind only reigning champions Senegal, and are well-positioned to advance to the knockout stages. However, the joy of victory has been tempered by the loss of lives, prompting calls for fans to celebrate responsibly and ensure that football remains a sport that unites rather than divides.