Today marks exactly 19 years since Ghana football experienced one of the worst stadium disasters in the history of the game, and the football community have been thrown into a state of silence as clubs, individuals pay touching tributes of the May 9 disaster.
Ghana, a football iconic country in West Africa, was engulfed in mourning on the 9th of May, 2001 when 126 football fans lost their lives following a crowd disturbances that erupted a premier league game between Accra Hearts of Oak and arch rivals Asante Kotoko at the Accra Sports Stadium.
In the said match, Accra Hearts of Oak scored two quick late goals to make the scoreline 2-1, leaving several Asante Kotoko fans disappointed, ripping off stadium seats and throwing them, along with other plastic objects onto the pitch. They accused centre referee Wilson Sey of awarding an offside goal to the Phobians, and before security persons realized, the situation got beyond normal.
Police responded by firing tear gas into the crowd to disperse them, which caused panic and stampede as fans tried to escape and run for their lives. Fans ran over one another for safety, leaving 126 fans helpless as they died in the process.
The disaster, till date, remains the worst ever calamity to hit Ghana football, and effect on stadium attendance has been massive as many fans still can’t forgot the incident. Today marks exactly 19 years since the May 9 disaster and the Ghana Football Association and clubs in Ghana, especially Kotoko and Hearts of Oak and the entire Ghanaian football community are remembering and extending condolences to the families of the departed souls.