Soccer Player Killed, CAF Calls For a 'Stop to Hooliganism'

Pam WrightLife

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Following the death of a Cameroonian soccer player during an Algerian league match on Saturday, the African soccer leagues were sent a strong warning that they "cannot be the breeding ground for hooliganism."

Striker Albert Ebosse, the Algerian league's top scorer last season with 17 goals, died after he was allegedly struck by a piece of concrete thrown from one of Cameroon's own fans at the match against USM Alger in the city of Tizi Ouzou.

"My thoughts go out to the family and friends of this young man who enjoyed his job peacefully and went further to pursue his passion for football abroad," said Issa Hayatou, the Cameroonian president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), in a statement Sunday.

"African football cannot be the breeding ground for hooliganism whatsoever. We expect exemplary sanctions to be taken against this grave act of violence. Violence has no place in African football in particular and sports in general. We remain resolute and state in the strongest terms our determination to eradicate all forms of violence and unsportsmanlike conduct in stadiums on the continent," said Hayatou.

Ebosse, 24, played for Algerian club JS Kabylie and had scored in his team's 2-1 home defeat to USM Alger. As the players were returning to the locker room, objects were thrown, allegedly from the angry home crowd over the loss.

JS Kabylie said Ebosse died later after he "succumbed to a head injury."

Algeria's interior ministry has launched an investigation into the incident.

The world players' union FIFPro denounced the incident and the poor management of African leagues.

"In recent years, we have constantly had to denounce the flagrant lack of professionalism among African executives," said Stephane Burchkalter, general secretary of FIFPro's African division.

"On the one hand, they demand more and more of the players, in terms of investment. In plain terms, players have to be beyond reproach. If they make the slightest mistake, they are criticised and penalized," he said.

"On the other hand, the executives are allowed to do as they wish, without the least professionalism. They can 'forget' to pay wages, or play with the lives of players by organising competitions without providing the most elementary safety precautions," continued Burchkalter.

"If drastic measures are not taken to preserve the safety of footballers, in Algeria as well as in a great number of other African countries, other incidents are unfortunately to be feared."

Pam Wright