Thousands Walk In Remembrance Of May 9 Soccer Disaster Victims
Thousands of people in the Ashanti regional capital and beyond took to the streets of Kumasi for a walk in remembrance of victims of the Accra sports stadium soccer disaster 14 years ago that resulted in the death of 126 soccer fans.
The soccer fans are believed to have died from stampede that ensued after policemen on duty on the day fired several tear gas to stop rowdy supporters who were ripping off plastic chairs at the Ade Coker stand after the match. The officers cited for manslaughter in the Okudzeto report were later freed by the court.
Led by former chief executive officer of Kumasi Asante Kotoko, Herbert Mensah and a host of others, the walk took participants through some principal streets of Kumasi and ended with an Inter-Zongo soccer match at Aboabo, a suburb of Kumasi.
“We have done this for 14 years and it is because of the relevance for the day and the respect we have for the departed souls and we will continue to observe the day so long as God gives us life,” Herbert Mensah intimated.
Mr. Mensah, who is at the moment the President of the Ghana Rugby Association, used the occasion to urge for greater tolerance among soccer fans during matches.
“The tragedy should make football fans more careful, they should understand they are brothers and sisters off the field and they must exhibit the positive rage that comes with soccer,” he added.
He however appealed to government and administrators of the game to invest more into all sports to encourage patronage.
Prior to the inter-Zongo football match, Herbert Mensah led families of the victims, soccer fans, leading members of the public and representatives of both clubs (Hearts and Kotoko), to seek Allah’s guidance and blessings at the mosque with the Regional Chief Imam and some Chiefs also in attendance.
Sole distributor of Frutelli, Chester Anie, one of the sponsors of the event told the media he considers his role as a social responsibility call to give back to the society. He pledged support for future events.
Meanwhile Trustee of the May 9th Distributor Fund, Helena Cobbina, accused government of neglecting recommendations contained in the report.