May 9th, 2012 PRESS RELEASE

Press Release
 
 
May9, 2012
 
 
HERBERT MENSAH – We will always keep the flame of May 9th 2001 burning in honour of our true heroes and custodians of our beloved game, the supporters.
 
The Former Chairman of Kumasi Asante Kotoko Mr. Herbert Mensah has paid tribute to the football fans who lost their lives tragically at a football match between Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko on May 9th 2001. He noted that it was important never to forget those now gone because they are the real heroes of society and of soccer the world over.
 
The former Kotoko Chairman noted that the incident of May 9th 2001 represented the worst single day incident tragedy in the history of Ghana since independent and that it was imperative that we not only recognise this as a nation but give respect to the lost ones and support their families for as long as possible. 
 
It will be recalled that 126 people died when police fired tear gas into the crowd which resulted in a stampede as supporters sought to flee the gases. The subsequent reports of the incident drew severe criticism at the security services and questioned the operational management of the match and the stadia. It was reported that at the height of the tragedy, security services had fled from the scene and that there were no support services by way of ambulances and fire service which could have helped.
 
Since the incident occurred Mr Mensah and a group of committed parties have kept the flame burning by visiting the families of the lost ones and supporting them on a yearly basis. Mr. Mensah noted that throughout the period he had been supported by Alhaji Hearts as well as the media and sporting personalities including Edward Boateng of Hello FM, Sometimer of Hot FM, Frederick Acheampong, Rian Malan, Prince of Kessben, Ali Maradona of Kotoko fame, Elton Brobbey of Luv FM and Kwame Gapson of KFM in Kumasi. In addition Chapter O in Accra and others have worked with this group in various activities which has helped to make the yearly event a success.
 
The Former Chairman noted of 2012 that it was the 11th anniversary of the tragedy and that his efforts this year was aimed at the mother child. Activities were put together with this in mind and Kumasi was chosen as the location. In order to ensure that the children did not miss school, a lot of the activities were held over the previous weekend. 
 
These included interaction with the families, 
Route march through the streets of Kumasi, 
Soccer match between Hearts Chapter O and their Kotoko equivalent 
Various Media encounters 
The launch of the May 9th Remembered Facebook page 
 
 
 
The highlight of the weekend for those families who joined the events was a visit to Manhyia and a meeting with Otumfuo Osei Tutu II. At the meeting, Otumfuo displayed his generosity and understanding by offering to place the children present in His educational scholarship scheme.
 
Mr Mensah however said that this year’s activities would not have been possible without the support of certain key companies and individuals.. These himself aside in order of contribution were as follows
 
Otumfuo Osei Tutu |II
Interplast. 
Golden Tulip Kumasi
Kwasi Nyantakyi
TT Brothers
Lubeco
GNPA
Scheema
Kwabena Kesse
 
Concluding, Mr. Mensah gave a special thanks to those that contributed  and stressed the importance of continued recognition for the May 9th initiative.
 
To the families The Former Chairman insisted that they do not give up and that they should keep the faith. He then issued the following piece given him by one of this year’s organisiers Mrs. Bhavana Bagalwadi – 
 
There are times in life
When you feel as if the earth
Has opened up
And swallowed you whole . . .
And you seriously doubt
If you’ll ever stop hurting.
And it’s then that you need
To realize you can’t
“Make everything all right.”
All you can do is survive,
One hour at a time,
Then one day at a time.
But you are not alone.
There are many who care about you
And are ready to lend you their strength
When yours is all gone.

So hang on, because the sun
Will rise again . . .
And though you’ll
Never forget,
You will survive this
And go on….
~Linda Lee Elrod

 
 

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