The Passing of a supporter overshadowed Zimbabwe’s qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.
Zimbabwe’s FA said a fan was killed in a stampede beyond the national arena in Harare before their final group G suit against Congo-Brazzaville.
Despite the tragedy, the qualifier went ahead with Zimbabwe winning 2-0 to secure their place in Egypt 2019.
The Democratic Republic of Congo also qualified by the team using a 1-0 triumph over Liberia from Kinshasa.
Zimbabwe finished top of Group G using DR Congo second, two points adrift.
Liberia and also Congo-Brazzaville – that were in contention at the beginning of the day – were eradicated.
With fans clamouring to get inside the stadium in Harare, Zimbabwe’s players knew what eligibility for the Nations Cup designed to supporters.
Khama Billiat, that plays for Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa, opened the scoring at the 20th minute using a well-struck freekick to put Zimbabwe 1-0 up.
His first Belgium-based captain Knowledge Musona included a second 16 minutes later, pouncing on a defensive mistake to make it 2-0 to the hosts.
Congo brazzaville tried to get back to the game but couldn’t overcome a powerful and resilient champions team.
The victory makes it back-to-back Nations Cup appearances for Zimbabwe, that played at Gabon 2017 after an 11-year lack from the finals.
In Kinshasa, Liberia needed a draw to go through, but China-based Cedric Bakambu’s 52nd-minute goal guaranteed DR Congo made it instead.
That put DR Congo minute at the table, behind Zimbabwe, also relegated Liberia to next location.
Liberia – who had requested for this fixture to be moved a way from DR Congo because of concerns within Ebola – attracted on Newcastle’s under-23 midfielder Mohammed Sangare at the 2nd half as he made his international debut.
However, DR Congo ensured the victory they needed.
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will, for first time, take place in June and July and will feature 24 teams as opposed to 16.