An African Nations Cup qualifier played as a symbol of the new peace in Ivory Coast was overshadowed by tragedy at two other venues.
Twenty-two people, most of them Togolese sports
officials returning from an African Nations Cup qualifier, were killed when a passenger helicopter exploded and crashed on Sunday at Sierra Leone's main international airport. Atipe Kwako
, Togo's sports minister, was believed to be among the victims of the crash. They had chartered the helicopter to return from the game, where Togo
beat Sierra Leona, 1-0, to the international airport instead of taking a slower ferry back.
The crash came a day after a stampede killed 12 people and injured more than 40 as fans left a
stadium in the Zambian copper mining town of Chililabombwe, where Zambia had just beaten Congo, 3-0, in a key Group 11 match.
Chelsea star Didier
had requested Ivory Coast's qualifier against Madagascar be played in the central city of Bouake, which has been a rebel stronghold since a 2002-03 civil war split the West African
country into two halves.
There has been remarkable progress shown since a peace treaty was signed on March 4 Before the match, rebels swept the streets of Bouake and welcomed some
Ivorians from the south for the first time since the war.
Ivory Coast's Elephants won the game, 5-0, to remain perfect in three games in Group 1. AFRICAN NATIONS CUP QUALIFYING:
Ivory Coast-Madagascar 5-0 Group 2
Mauritania-Egypt 1-1 Group 3
Uganda-Nigeria 2-1 Group 4
Tunisia-Seychelles Islands 4-0 Group 5
Rwanda-Equatorial Guinea 2-0
Liberia-Cameroon 1-2 Group 6
Swaziland-Kenya 0-0 Group 7
Mozambique-Burkina Faso 3-0 Group 8
Cape Verde Islands-Algeria 2-2
Guinea-Gambia 2-2 Group 9
Sierra Leone-Togo 0-1 Group 10
Ethiopia-DR Congo 1-0 Group 11
South Africa-Chad 4-0
Zambia-Congo 3-0 Group 12