Hosts in safety dilemma after reaching Nations Cup knockouts
26 January 2015, 14:22
Ebibeyin - Qualification of hosts Equatorial Guinea for the knockout phase of the African Nations Cup has created a potential safety dilemma for the Confederation of African Football and local organisers.
The home team beat Gabon 2-0 on Sunday to finish second in Group B and will now play their quarter-final at Ebibeyin on Saturday.
But the recently-built 5,000-seater stadium is patently too small for the expected turnout as the small country rides a euphoric wave after their surprise victory over their neighbours.
The Nations Cup has already seen spectators breaking through fences at the opening game in Bata on Jan. 17 with the 35,000-capcity stadium there overflowing.
At other venues, segregated areas for VIPS and media have also been overrun at times by supporters, who poorly trained police have been unable to control.
In Ebibeyin, organisers are using recruits from a nearby police college to provide security with assistance from police from Angola.
A force of 350 has come from Luanda to help Equatorial Guinea in an admission of the shortcomings of the capacity of domestic security forces.
Moving the quarter-final to a bigger venue to avoid a potential disaster would be unprecedented but is likely to be discussed by CAF and the organisers on Monday, officials told Reuters.
Equatorial Guinea are due to play the winner of Group B, which will be decided on Monday, at the Estadio de Ebibeyin at 1900GMT on Saturday.
That is after the first quarter-final between Congo and the runners-up in Group B at Bata at 1600.
Authorities could now be looking to play the two matches as a double header in Bata, which is the largest venue in the country and where Equatorial Guinea have played their three group games in front of packed crowds.
Bata also hosts the final of the Nations Cup on Feb. 8.
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