The Guinean football federation (Feguifoot) and former star Pascal Feindouno have called for calm after supporters died back home celebrating the country’s first win at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations.
Guinea beat The Gambia 1-0 in their second group game in Ivory Coast on Friday night, sparking widespread celebrations across the West African nation.
Six people died after the team ignited their Nations Cup campaign, Feguifoot has told the BBC, after fans took to the roads of the Guinean capital Conakry to celebrate in cars and on motorcycles.
“What is important is that our fans and the public celebrate in a very measured fashion,” Feguifoot media manager Amadou Makadji told BBC Sport Africa.
“They have to be very careful to not put themselves in danger, because the goal of football is to bring joy and not leave families bereaved. We do not want deaths to mourn, so we call on everyone to celebrate but to take care of themselves so that nothing happens to them.
“Guinea is a country where people are very, very passionate about football and they experience football like nowhere else in the world.”
Fans spilled onto the streets shortly after the final whistle blew in the Ivorian capital Yamoussoukro where Guinea’s win, which followed Monday’s opening 1-1 draw with Cameroon was only their third in their last 15 Nations Cup matches dating back to 2012.
Aguibou Camara scored the winner late on to move Guinea up to second in Group C with four points, two behind defending champions Senegal but three ahead of third-placed Cameroon, who are five-time winners, while the Gambians are pointless.
Three people died when two vehicles collided at high speed while several dozen others were injured in road accidents, a police source told Agence France Presse who added that many fans drove around on car bonnets as the capital’s roads filled up in celebration.
Pascal Feindouno, one of the star players in the Guinea sides that reached three straight quarter-finals between 2004 and 2008, also urged the country’s fans to be calm.
“I have a message to send to Guinean men and women,” the 42-year-old, who played at four Nations Cups, told the BBC in Yamoussoukro, where the team are based.
“Rest assured that we will do something at the Nations Cup but we have learned something that will destabilise us. We learned there were deaths after the victory against The Gambia – we want this to stop because we are here to defend the colours of the country.
“Everything is going well for us at the moment so support the country but don’t do anything to kill each other or oneself. Stay calm – thank you.”
With Guinea one of the countries that neighbour Ivory Coast, the team is well-supported in the host nation after many fans travelled by road from Conakry, a journey of some 1,000 miles, and elsewhere.
On Tuesday, the 1976 Nations Cup runners-up – bidding to win their first title at the 14th attempt – face Senegal in another West African derby for top spot in the group and the chance to stay in Yamoussoukro for the second round.
The Nations Cup, which kicked off on 13 January, will end with the final in Ivory Coast’s economic capital Abidjan on 11 February.