Fourteen years ago, exactly on May 9th, 2001, Ghana was thrown into a state of mourning and sadness as we lost more than a hundred football fans to the cruel hands of death at the Accra Sports Stadium. This happened as a result of a stampede that occurred when most of the fans of the two teams Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko were trying to escape the tear gas being thrown at them by the police personnel on duty at the stadium. These policemen in their attempt to ensure law and order might have been oblivious of the fact that the exits at the stadium were not many. To cut a long story short, many people lost their lives on that day. It was a sad day for Ghana football.
As we commemorate that day once again, have we learnt some lessons from the tragedy? Are football fans behaving themselves at the various stadia in the country during football matches? What measures has the Ghana Football Association put in place to check hooliganism in Ghana Football? What have been done so far for the children or relatives of those who lost their lives on that tragic day? Have we stopped playing politics with the game of football in this country? We are too quick to blame a certain government for anything that happens in Ghana and we have extended this attitude even to the beautiful game of football.
We must not allow the souls of the “Martyrs of May 9th” continue to grieve in their graves. We being so passionate about football must comport ourselves anytime we go to the stadium to watch a football match. Hooliganism must be dealt with without fear or favour, no matter who the culprits are. Lets make a pledge to ourselves that never again will we allow football to bring conflicts amongst us. We should also impress on the authorities to train the police on how to properly control crowds or spectators at the various sporting events. Interestingly, when two teams meet on the pitch, they shake hands before and after each match and they don’t fight against each other, so why should their supporters fight amongst themselves? In a game of football, three outcomes are surely to happen; a win, a loss and a draw. We as supporters of our respective teams must be prepared to accept any of the above outcomes and not resort to violence when things don’t go our way.
May the souls of the “Martyrs of May 9th, 2001” rest peacefully in the bosom of God Almighty. Lets also say a prayer for the families and relations they left behind, may God continue to strengthen them and give them the much needed steadfastness all the days of their lives. May we not see such a tragedy in our dear country again. God bless our homeland Ghana and make her great and strong.