Eight people, including seven children died and dozens more were injured in a stampede ahead of a football match in Lilongwe’s Bingu National Stadium in Malawi on Thursday.

The stampede happened as thousands of people rushed for seats ahead of a friendly between top sides Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers.

Despite the deaths, the match occurred in a packed stadium, although President Peter Mutharika did not attend as planned.

He offered his condolences and said the government would do all it could to assist the families of the bereaved.

The football match was being held as part of events to mark the 53rd anniversary of Malawi’s independence from British colonial rule.