KINSHASA: Fifteen football fans were reported dead and 21 injured after violence at the DR Congo title decider between Vita Club and TP Mazembe at the Tata Raphael Stadium in Kinshasa.
The match, on the sixth and final day of the play-offs, ended with a 1-0 victory for visiting Mazembe who were thus crowned national champions.
Local media reports claimed the match had been played “in a spirit of sportsmanship” but Vita fans, growing increasingly upset with the progress of the game, began to throw missiles at the pitch, prompting several interruptions by the match referee.
A hail of missiles aimed at the outside broadcasting services of the national television service led the corporation’s sports director to refuse to cover the game.
At the 90th minute, with Mazembe 1-0 ahead, the referee indicates five minutes of stoppage time, provoking a further hail of missiles. The referee subsequently abandoned the game and police fired tear gas among the Vita fans.
As spectators panicked and rushed for the exits a stadium wall apparently collapsed.
Before the game Vita officials had protested about the “degrading treatment” their own players had endured in the clubs’ earlier game, in Lubumbashi, and which Mazembe won 4-1.
TP Mazembe have been crowned African club champions four times, reaching the final of the FIFA Club World Cup in 2010 where they lost to Internazionale. Vita were African champions once, in 1973.