The Super Eagles of Nigeria mourned the tragic loss of fans who passed away during their semi-final match against South Africa on Wednesday.
Reports indicate that at least five fans died while watching the game, which ended in a 1-1 draw and was decided by a penalty shootout.
The fans reportedly collapsed and died after a controversial decision by the referee to cancel Nigeria’s second goal, scored by Victor Osimhen.
The Super Eagles expressed their condolences and grief through an official statement, acknowledging the fans’ passion for the game that unknowingly led to their final moments.
“In a cruel twist of fate, their fervent passion for the beautiful game unwittingly led them to their final moments as the Nigeria vs. South Africa match unfolded, they were lost in the thrill of the game, unaware of the looming danger.”
In a video shared by Ghanian sports journalist Juliet Bawuah, the team observed a minute of silence, led by captain Ahmed Musa.
Among the deceased fans are Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, a former member of the House of Representatives, Mikail Osundiji, a sales representative of Nestlé Plc, and Chief Osondu Nwoye, a Nigerian businessman based in Abidjan. Additionally, Alhaji Ayuba Abdullahi, the Deputy Bursar of Kwara State University, and a Nigerian graduate and corps member named Samuel were also reported dead.
Nigeria is set to face Ivory Coast in the final on Sunday at 9pm, marking the second meeting between the two nations, with Nigeria having won their last group A game.