FIFA, the world’s governing body, has paid respect to the Nigerian football fans who died during the semi-finals of the 2023 African Cup of Nations.
No fewer than six Nigerian fans died while watching the match between the Eagles and Bafana Bafana in Bouake on Wednesday.
The Eagles defeated Bafana 4-2 on penalties after extra time scores were tied to advance to the final (their first since 2013) on Sunday in Abidjan, where they will meet tournament hosts Ivory Coast for their fourth continental title.
While mourning the fans through its X handle FIFA wrote, “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those who have tragically passed away as well as the entire football community in Nigeria. Rest in peace.”
The Eagles on Thursday also mourned their fans who died during the semi-finals of the ongoing AFCON through their handle.
The post read, “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.”
The team prayed that the souls of the departed “find eternal peace, forever remembered for their love of football and the togetherness it brings. Rest in peace.”
A former member of the House of Representatives from Ika Federal Constituency of Delta State, Cairo Ojougboh, reportedly died while watching the AFCON semi-finals.
Also, a sales representative, Mikail Osundiji, reportedly slumped and died while watching the match in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
An Anambra State-born businessman, Osondu Nwoye, who resides in Abidjan, was also reported dead at the stadium.
Others who died while watching the match include Deputy Bursar of Kwara State University, Malete, Ayuba Abdullahi, who reportedly slumped and died after Victor Osimhen’s goal against South Africa was disallowed by the referee. He was buried on Thursday according to Islamic rites.
A youth corps member, Samuel Yunana, slumped at the Sports Viewing Centre, Numan in Adamawa State. Adamawa NYSC coordinator, Jingi Dennis, confirmed the death of Yunana.
Mikail Osundiji, 43, also died at the Oloomore Viewing Centre in Abeokuta.