TRAGEDY hit Zimbabwe as a female supporter of the Zimbabwe Warriors died in a stampede at the National Sports Stadium just before the match the hosts won 2 — 0 against visiting Congo Brazzaville.
An official at Zimbabwe Football Association confirmed to the BBC that a supporter had been killed in a stampede outside the national stadium in Harare before kick-off in their crucial match against Congo Brazzaville.
Despite the tragedy, the qualifier went ahead as scheduled with Zimbabwe winning 2-0 to seal their place at Egypt 2019.
The Democratic Republic of Congo also qualified from the group with a 1-0 win over Liberia in Kinshasa.
Zimbabwe finished top of Group G with DR Congo second, two points adrift.
Liberia and Congo Brazzaville – who were both in contention at the start of the day – were eliminated.
With fans clamouring to get inside the stadium in Harare, Zimbabwe’s players knew what qualification for the 2019 Nations Cup meant to the Warriors’ supporters.
Khama Billiat, who plays for Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa, opened the scoring in the 20th minute with a well-struck free-kick to put Zimbabwe 1-0 up.
His Belgium-based captain Knowledge Musona added a second 16 minutes later, pouncing on a defensive error to make it 2-0 to the hosts.
Congo Brazzaville tried to get back into the match but could not overcome a powerful and resilient Warriors team.
The victory makes it back-to-back Nations Cup appearances for Zimbabwe who played at Gabon 2017 after an 11-year absence from the finals.