Herbert wants tougher action on football violence as Ghana marks 18 years of May 9 tragedy

Former CEO of Kumasi Asante Kotoko, Mr Herbert Mensah, has advocated for a draconian law regime to deal with football hooligans who threaten the survival of the game. He said the strong passion with which Ghanaians followed football called for stringent measures to check any possible spillover that could degenerate into violence such had been witnessed in the country on many occasions. “Supporters will always be passionate and it requires strong decision to ensure that this [May 9 tragedy] never recurs,” he said. “The people who oversee the game, the people who oversee the society, are they strong enough to take action?” asked Mr Mensah, a strong advocate for safety and security at our stadiums, ahead of Saturday’s May 9 memorial walk in Kumasi. He said as Ghana marked 18 years of the darkest day in its football next Thursday, no individual should assume to be bigger than the law. Mr Mensah told the Daily Graphic in an exclusive interview in Kumasi that last Sunday’s chaotic scenes at the Golden City Park when Berekum Chelsea played against Kotoko, a match characterised by shooting and violent attacks on rival fans should push organisers of the game to begin to clampdown on all forms of violence during matches. Since the tragic events of May 9, 2011 when an estimated 127 football fans perished during a stampede at the Accra stadium during an epic league match between Accra Hearts of Oak and archrivals Kotoko, Mr Mensah — who was then Kotoko Chairman and was personally involved in the evacuation mission — has led a walk in Kumasi annually and also donated to victims of the tragedy. He has shifted the walk to today instead of next Thursday to allow for more people to participate. And for the first time, some of the players of both Kotoko and Hearts who featured in that match will join hundreds of football fans as they walk through some principal streets of Kumasi to mark the day. Also joining in the walk are students from the Katanga and Continental Halls of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and a group of physically challenged people. Mr Mensah indicated the match was more of symbolism and love for humanity. Earlier yesterday, Mr Mensah and his team of local and icons joined Muslims at the Kumasi Central Mosque for Jummah prayers and made both goods and cash donations to the affected families.

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Source: Daily Graphic | Ghana]]>