Stadium tragedy: Mistaken identity leaves Warriors fan traumatised

Mutare based psychologist and staunch Zimbabwe football national team supporter Esther Murinyu-Mawere was left  traumatized after her picture dominated social media on Sunday as news broke that a Warriors’ female supporter had been killed in a stampede at the National Sports Stadium.

Murinyu-Mawere who was at home said she was shocked to hear relatives and friends calling and condolences pouring amid conflicting reports of the identity of the women who had been trampled to death while in the company of her husband.

“The moment I got the message I quickly contacted my kids who are abroad to notify them it was not me who had passed on and they should not press the panic button,” the staunch Warriors’ fan told Zim Morning Post.

Friends and relatives called and my husband had a torrid time explaining that he had left me at home and I was nowhere near the stadium. I just feel sorry for the bereaved family. It was a mistake that my picture was  circulated,” she said.

“Even up to now I am still getting calls. Some messages I am now ignoring.I am still very much alive. It is perhaps ironic that the guys who scored for Zimbabwe, Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiat, are Lord Malvern alumni. I am also a Lord Malvern alumni. It appears we always in the headlines.”

 Thank God my husband is a Psychiatrist and before he even told me he had passed an alert to kids and relatives outside the world

From my investigations when I followed up texts in our Dembare groups it was a silly mistake made by a fan who wanted to comment because they were used to seeing me in Dembare regalia so a picture was sent without a story and it coincided with a message of someone who was asking for a picture for a deceased lady then that’s wen hell broke loose,” she added.

The life of a 38-year-old female Warriors’ supporter was cut short on Sunday after she was trampled to death as she made her way into the National Sports Stadium to watch Zimbabwe take on Congo-Brazzaville.

Edna Nyamadzawo was certified dead upon arrival at Parirenyatwa Hospital, some 6,6 km from the National Sports Stadium.

“On the 24th of March at around 14:30 hours the now deceased was in the company of her husband, who is the informant in this case, at the National Sports Stadium,” reads police memo seen by Zim Morning Post.

Police added that “the couple paid for their tickets through gate 3 and 4 and entered into the stadium.”

“As they were walking towards the bays from the gate, some supporters who wanted to enter into the stadium illegally forcefully pushed the main gate bringing it down.”

“As a result the now deceased was hit at the back and she fell down, the gate over her. The supporters then rushed into the stadium stepping on top of the fallen gate with the now deceased under it. The body of the deceased was later retrieved and was taken to Parirenyatwa Hospital where it was certified dead by the doctor.”

The memo continued: “It was taken to hospital mortuary awaiting post mortem. Sudden death report was filed at ZRP Mabelreign, RNB  3942908 refers. Investigations in the matter are continuing.”

Several people were injured in the melee.

ZIFA president Felton Kamambo said the association will exhaustively investigate factors behind the March 24 stampede.

“We cannot imagine what those she left behind are going through in this difficult moment of grief. The death of our supporter saddens us as the mother body because we will never have her support at our matches again. The ZIFA Leadership yesterday (Monday)  visited the family of the deceased to commiserate with the family. ZIFA has also contributed towards the funeral expenses of the deceased supporter,” Kamambo said.

“Our idea of football is to use it as a social vehicle to unite the nation behind noble causes and in celebrating in peace and harmony. Stampeding at entry points has become a threat that may scare away passionate supporters from our stadia. As an association we shall exhaustively investigate factors behind the stampede on 24 March.

“It is concerning when lives are lost at events that are supposed to be celebratory and entertainment oriented. We apologise for the mayhem at the point of entry. We wish speedy recovery to the injured.We shall also continue to improve our admission systems at entry points so that fans can enter the stadium more swiftly to avert long queues.”

Meanwhile, a man is in hospital after he jumped several Stadium steps in a bid to celebrate Sunday’s victory with the Warriors.