Football: Nations Cup host country's leader Obiang blames s-final battle on 'childish fans'

A police helicopter is used to disperse rioting fans from pelting Ghanaian fans with projectiles during the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations semi final match between Ghana and Equatorial Guinea at the Malabo Stadium, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on Feb 5, 201
A police helicopter is used to disperse rioting fans from pelting Ghanaian fans with projectiles during the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations semi final match between Ghana and Equatorial Guinea at the Malabo Stadium, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on Feb 5, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA

BATA, Equatorial Guinea (AFP) - Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang says the "childish behaviour" of fans was to blame for the violence that marred the Africa Cup of Nations hosts' semi-final loss to Ghana.

Thursday's game in Malabo descended into chaos as Equatorial Guinea fans turned on Ghanaian supporters, pelting them with plastic bottles and chairs, with the unsavoury scenes leaving 36 injured.

The 2015 Nations Cup hosts were fined US$100,000 (S$134,000) on Friday by organisers the Confederation of African Football.

And an order to play Saturday's third place play-off against Democratic Republic of Congo behind closed doors was suspended "to promote a spirit of fair-play and brotherhood during the Afcon2015".

Mr Obiang released his first public reaction on the Malabo battles in a statement ahead of Saturday's game back in Malabo.

He said: "The African continent and the international community applauded us for the courageous decision to stage the CAN despite the lack of time to prepare, precarious economic conditions and the difficulties associated with combating the Ebola epidemic.

"And now they are astonished at the childish behaviour shown by the citizens of Malabo which cannot be justified by events on the pitch."

The country's iron-fisted ruler since his 1979 coup d'etat continued: "Despite the efforts undertaken, the enemies of progress and peace for the people of Equatorial Guinea have displayed their lack of political maturity in organising violent demonstrations in the stadium in Malabo."