Africa Cup of Nations riot: DR Congo's Zakuani wants game off

Africa Cup of Nations: BBC commentators escape crowd trouble

Defender Gabriel Zakuani wants DR Congo to pull out of their Africa Cup of Nations third-place play-off against Equatorial Guinea amid security fears.

His side face the hosts on Saturday at the same venue where rioting marred the home side's semi-final against Ghana.

"If they're throwing this [rocks and glass] at players, Eq Guinea, you can have 3rd place, I love football but prefer to live," Zakuani, 28, tweeted.external-link

Equatorial Guinea's football federation has been fined £65,000 for the trouble.

It has also been told by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to meet the cost of treatment of the 36 injured supporters.

Caf ordered Equatorial Guinea to play one match behind closed doors, but suspended the sanction "in the spirit of fair play".

Objects removed from the pitch by BBC reporter Piers Edwards
Objects found on the pitch by BBC reporter Piers Edwards - Zakauani used the photo alongside his tweet

This means Saturday's game (16:00 GMT) is set to be played in front of spectators despite the Ghana Football Association president saying fans could have died in the crowd trouble on Thursday.

"We're lucky we haven't lost any lives, though people have sustained injuries arising from objects thrown at them," Kwesi Nyantakyi told BBC World Service.

A stadium worker is seriously injured in hospital after he suffered several broken limbs when attacked by rioting fans as he cleared rubbish bins.

It is understood that Zakuani, who plays for English League One side Peterborough United,external-link is not the only DR Congo player who wants Saturday's game at Malabo Stadium called off on security grounds.

However, DR Congo head coach Florent Ibenge said he is happy for the game to go ahead.

"We are serene and we are preparing to play this game," he said. "We want to win this third place and give joy but we are really not scared of this."

On Thursday, play was halted for 30 minutes as home fans rioted at the match where Ghana beat hosts Equatorial Guinea 3-0.

Police used tear gas as bottles and stones were thrown by home supporters at the 15,250-capacity venue.

African Cup of Nations: Night of shame for African football

The Ghana FA said it was "like a war zone", while Nyantakyi described the conduct of some Equatorial Guinea supporters as "the highest state of barbarism".

He told BBC World Service: "African football has grown beyond this level and in the 21st century we expect to see more decency in the behaviour of fans.

"A high-profile game of this nature should have attracted police, intelligence officers and military. "

Emilio Nsue, captain of Equatorial Guinea, said: "Regarding the public and the way they acted, I've never experienced that. I'd like to say sorry. It was something we've never experienced before."

Equatorial Guinea agreed to host the tournament after Morocco pulled out in November because of its fears over the Ebola outbreak elsewhere on the continent.

Ghana will play Ivory Coast, who beat DR Congo 3-1, in Sunday's final (19:00 GMT) in Bata, on the west coast of Equatorial Guinea.

A police helicopter hovers over the stadium
A police helicopter hovers over the stadium
A spectator is carried off the pitch after trying to attack the referee
A spectator is carried off the pitch after trying to attack the referee
A blood-stained advertising board next to the pitch
A blood-stained advertising board next to the pitch