Sunday, May 9 marks exactly 20 years when over 127 football fans died at the Accra Sports Stadium following a stampede.
The biggest football disaster in Africa occurred in a league match between Ghanaian giants, Accra Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko on May 9, 2001 at the Accra Sports Stadium.
In the said match, the home side, Hearts of Oak led their arch-rivals Kotoko 2-1 with just a few minutes to end the game.
Kotoko fans were not happy with Hearts of Oak’s second goal after realizing their club was headed for a defeat.
A section of the fans began ripping and throwing the plastic seats onto the field to register their displeasure over what they term poor officiating.
The police on duty responded by firing tear gas into the agitated crowd causing a stampede and in the process killing scores of fans.
Ever since the incident, commemorative exercises are held annually in remembrance of the departed souls.
As part of the 20 year anniversary, Ghana’s [National] Sports Authority and the Sports Ministry will roll out programmes to educate football fans in order to forestall future occurrences.
Director General of the Sports Authority spoke exclusively to Nicholas Akosah of Africa-Foot.com.
“It is about twenty years ago that this particular disaster happened in our very Stadium.
“It’s something that we do not want to have in our books anymore.
“I think it has really thought us a lot of lessons and we will always learn from it.
“It’s the 20th year and every year we put together some educative programmes in terms of fire service drills, we do also the medical aspect of it with the Red Cross and the Ghana Ambulance Services to come and also come and give some practical demonstration of how we can handle situations within our sporting facilities.
“This year we will repeat that and then the Sports Minister also has some programmes he wants to put across.
“This time the practicals will be extended.
“We have done so well but we are not going to sit on our oars and think that is it.
“We will continue to educate the fans to stick to the rules we shall put in place when you are in the stadium especially now with the COVID-19.” Peter Twumasi told Nichols Akosah of Africa-Foot.com.
A committee led by Professor Twumasi has been formed to lead the activities set for Sunday, May 9 at the Accra Sports Stadium.
The two clubs involved, Hearts of Oak and Kotoko will be part of the commemorative ceremony with other dignitaries set to grace the occasion.