Saturday, 24 July 2010

Hafia Football Club (Guinea)

Hafia FC from Guinea - were possibly the greatest African club side of the 1970s. An amazing run saw them win the African Cup of Champions in 1972, 1975 and 1977 and finish runners up in 1976 and 1978. This makes them the third most successful side in the tournament's history, with only the Egyptian giants Al-Ahly and Al-Zamalek having won more.

They also have a tremendous domestic record, having taken the Guinée Championnat National 15 times and the National Cup three times. But their history is patchy at best. Formed in Guinea's capital city Conakry some time in the 1960s as Conacry II, there is almost no evidence of them on the internet at all, shy of their Cup of Champions experience - so please excuse the last of decent images. But player from their golden period include African greats like Papa Camara, Bengally Sylla, Abdoulaye Keita, Souleymane Cherif, Petit Sory, and Mamadou Aliou Kéïta.

Sadly their 25,000 capacity Stade 28 Septembre ground, named after the day Guineans voted to become independent of France in 1958, gained international notoriety in 2009 as the site of a protest that ended in a bloody massacre. As the ground filled with opposition supporters calling for Guinean president Moussa Dadis Camara to stand down, security forces opened fire on the crowd, killing 157 people and seriously injuring more than 1200 in the resulting stampede. It was a sad moment in the history of a stadium that has brought so much joy to this troubled country.

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