DAKAR — Senegal Football Federation (FTF) president Augustin Senghor said Saturday’s match incidents were a sabotage carefully planned by those who wanted to destroy the nation’s football and bring discredit to the body.
The FTF boss said an individual ordered match tickets to distribute to ruffians purposely to disrupt the encounter between Senegal and Ivory Coast in the return leg of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) final qualifying round, which was called off in the 76th minute after violence broke out at the 60 000-seater Leopold Senghor Stadium in Dakar.
“We strongly believe it was an act of sabotage set up by an individual or group of persons to destabilise Senegal’s football,” Senghor said.
“Someone ordered many tickets for hooligans to disrupt the meeting at the stadium. They want to soil the reputation of our football. They want our home ground to be suspended by Caf (Confederation of African Football). They were simply wishing us failure so that they can criticise us before the fans and the entire nation,” he said.
Earlier on Monday, Leeds United winger El Hadji Diouf declared that the football association impounded the 1 000 tickets he had ordered to distribute to his fans for the game, on suspicion that the player wanted to recruit hooligans to disrupt the match.
According to sources close to the FTF, Diouf was the only individual that paid for such a high number of tickets for the game.
However, the player has denied any involvement in the violence, calling on the government to dismiss all the members of the football association and name a new group to overhaul the country’s football system.
Meanwhile, Senegal manager Ferdinand Coly says there will be difficult times ahead for his country as they await punishment for their fans’ behaviour in Saturday’s abandoned game against Ivory Coast.
A riot caused the Afcon qualifier to be abandoned with Ivory Coast leading 2-0 (6-2 on aggregate).
“We are going to face some difficult days, but Senegal will accept the sanctions,” said Coly. “For the players, it was traumatic —especially the young ones.”
Home fans started fires in the stands and threw objects on the pitch with about 15 minutes left to play in Dakar, shortly after former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba had converted a penalty. Visiting supporters jumped down on the pitch to escape the violence, where they took refuge in the centre circle while the security forces used tear gas to quell the rioting fans. — Supersport