It's not the first time fans have stampeded to enter a stadium to watch a soccer game in Africa, but the latest has come just 5 days before the opening of the World Cup in South Africa, and has led to finger-pointing about who's to blame.

Thousands of fans stampeded outside a stadium in the Johannesburg suburb of Tembisa before an exhibition game between Nigeria and North Korea yesterday, leaving 15 people injured, including one police officer who was seriously hurt. The stadium seats 12,000.

"At this moment we have 14 civilians that were slightly injured in the process, one policeman seriously injured," police spokesman Lt. Col. Eugene Opperman said.

Opperman said tickets for the game were given out for free outside the stadium.

"What then occurred was large groups of people gathered outside the gates wanting to come in and wanting to get free tickets. Unfortunately in the process, the gates were opened and there was a stampede," Opperman said.

FIFA, soccer's international governing body, said it had nothing to do with the ticketing.

"FIFA and the OC [local organizing committee] would like to reiterate that this friendly match has no relation whatsoever with the operational organization of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, for which we remain fully confident," read a statement.

One police officer blamed FIFA for the trouble.

"FIFA made the tickets free and now look," said the policeman, who refused to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media. "FIFA wanted them free."

The Tembisa Stadium is nothing like those to be used for the World Cup. It has concrete terraces and is surrounded by a fence with gates and no turnstiles. Nigeria won the match, 3-1.

Also, Donald Gips, U.S. ambassador to South Africa, downplayed the State Department's crime alert to Americans attending the World Cup.

"There is no new concern about violence," Gips said while attending a U.S. team pracice in Pretoria. "South Africa does have a crime problem that they're addressing, and we want to make sure Americans are aware of that and stay in places that are safe."