Stakeholders in the sports sector in Ghana today held a short ceremony in memory of the fans who died in the May 9, 2001 stadium disaster.
The ceremony, which was held at the forecourt of the Accra Sports Stadium was attended by the Sports Minister, Isaac Asiamah, members of the bereaved families and representatives from both Accra Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko, the two clubs playing at the time of the incident.
Wreaths were laid at the resting place of the 127 people who lost their lives 17 years ago.
Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko also both tweeted in remembrance of the day.
— Phobians (@HeartsOfOakGH) May 9, 2018
📅 9th May📍🙏😭
May that which …
Bind us together as ONE
Draw out our PASSION into JOY
Cause us LAUGHTER
Pull us APART
KILL our dreams
Draw our SORROWS
— Asante Kotoko S.C (@AsanteKotoko_SC) May 9, 2018
Speaking to the media after the ceremony, Isaac Asiamah said the country has learnt “useful” lessons from the incident which has manifested in structural considerations and crowd control strategies at the venue.
“Useful lessons have been learnt. The stadium wasn’t like this before. There were one or two exits at the time now there are more. When there is a problem [fans] can easily get away, evacuation is easier. We’ve improved on the stadium year after year although there has been some neglect, but we are putting it back in shape. Crowd comportment is also now better.”
‘A day we’ll never forget’
The May 9 disaster occurred during a match between Ghana’s two most successful football teams, Hearts and Kotoko.
Trouble had been anticipated prior to the game, and extra security measures had been taken at the Accra Sports Stadium.
The home side scored two late goals against Kotoko to make it 2–1, which led to disappointed Kotoko fans throwing plastic seats and bottles onto the pitch.
The response to this crowd disturbance from the police was to fire tear gas into the crowd.
Panic ensued, resulting in a stampede that led to the deaths from compressive asphyxia of 127 people.
By: Fentuo Tahiru/citinewsroom.com/Ghana