London, Mar 31: Chelsea's Ivory Coast international striker Didier Drogba has said that football is nothing compared to the death of 19 people in a deadly stadium stampede before a World Cup qualifier in Ivorian capital Abidjan.
Drogba, who scored two goals as Ivory Coast beat Malawi 5-0 in a game that was still staged following the tragedy at the 45,000-capacity Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium, said: I am disappointed by what has happened, it is hard to take. Football is nothing. You are talking about the deaths of 19 people.
When things like that happen it makes you realize how much people care about their country and their team."
As well as the 19 deaths, including two children, more than 132 spectators were injured when part of a wall collapsed as ticketless fans stormed one of the entrances.
Fans who survived the crush have blamed police for the tragedy, saying security forces provoked the panic by throwing tear-gas at people who had nowhere to run.
Drogba's team-mate, Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure has urged his team-mates to pay tribute to those who lost their lives by ensuring Ivory Coast reach the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.