Blantyre – Police say eight people were killed in a football stadium stampede ahead of a match which was part of Malawi’s 53rd independence day celebrations.

“Doctors have confirmed that eight people have died while 62 others have suffered multiple injuries,’’ police spokesperson James Kadadzera said on Thursday.

Seven of the dead were children, the state-owned Malawi News Agency said on Twitter.

The stampede occurred in the capital Lilongwe as fans pushed to enter the Chinese-built, 40,000-seater Bingu National Stadium to see a friendly match between Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers.

Reports said the match would go ahead in spite of the deaths.

President Peter Mutharika was expected to visit injured victims at hospital.

The southern African country gained independence from Britain on July 6, 1964.

The celebrations started on Wednesday with military parades.

In spite of having one of the worst-performing national football teams in the region, local games in Malawi pull in tens of thousands of fans. (dpa/NAN)

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