KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: African football is in mourning after Cameroon forward Albert Ebossé Bodjongo died after being hit by missile thrown from the terraces at a league match in Algeria.
The Jeunesse Sportive de Kabylie forward was declared dead in the nearby University Hospital after being hit by what was variously described as either a stone or a mobile phone in a 2-1 defeat by champions USM Alger in the Stade Novembre 1 in Tizi Ouzou.
JSK, last season’s runners-up, won their first game of the new season 2-0 at MC Oran but were well below form in their first home match of term. That prompted jeers and a hail of missiles from angry fans at the final whistle as the players left the pitch.
Ebosse was struck, collapsed and had a head wound bandaged by medical staff before being taken away on a stretcher.
Ebosse was born in Douala on October 6, 1989. He played for Coton Sport of Garoua, Unisport Bafang, Athletic Club Douala, Perak FA in Malaysia and then returned to African football with JSK in 2013. He was the league’s top scorer last season with 17 goals.
Statements of condolences were issued by both clubs and an inquiry was ordered by the Interior Ministry.
League president Mahfoud Kerbadj, who had attended the game, called an emergency executive committee meeting which led to a suspension of the championship pending the outcome of further investigations into the incident.
Issa Hayatou, Cameroonian president of the African Confederation of Football, sent a message of condolence and demanded “appropriate sanctions”.
Hayatou said: “My thoughts go out to the family and friends of this young man who enjoyed his job peacefully and went further to pursue his passion abroad.
“African football cannot be the breeding ground for hooliganism whatsoever. We expect exemplary sanctions to be taken against this grave act of violence. Violence has no place in African football in particular and sports in general.
“We remain resolute and state in the strongest terms our determination to eradicate all forms of violence and unsportsmanlike conduct in stadiums on the continent.”
A further statement of condolence was issued by Sepp Blatter, president of world federation FIFA.
The death of Ebosse is the latest sad chapter in a difficult year for African football following the cash wrangles of three nations at the World Cup in Brazil, a series of matchfixing scandals, the internal battles within the Nigerian federation and the effects of the escalating ebola crisis.