The Super Eagles of Nigeria have paid tributes to fans who died while watching the team’s African Cup of Nations (AFCON) semi-final match against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa.
At least five people died in different locations while following the game, which Nigeria won 4-2, to advance to the final stage.
Mourning the fans on its X handle, the team said the “supporters were tragically lost in a cruel twist of fate”.
“They will forever be remembered for their love of football and the togetherness it brings,” the statement stated.
Among the victims were Dr Cairo Ojougboh, a former member of the House of Representatives from Delta State; Mikail Osundiji, a sales representative with Nestle Plc in Ogun State; Chief Osondu Nwoye, an Anambra State-born businessman based in Abidjan; Alhaji Ayuba Abdullahi, the deputy bursar of Kwara State University; and Samuel, a corps member.
They all reportedly slumped and died after suffering a shock when the referee disallowed Nigeria’s second goal by Victor Osimhen and awarded a penalty to South Africa in the second half, which ended the match in a penalty shootout.
Nigeria will face the host nation, Côte D’Ivoire, in the final of the AFCON on Sunday, after both teams defeated their opponents, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the semi-finals.
The Super Eagles are aiming to win their fourth AFCON title, while the Elephants are seeking their third.