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Hearts clash against Kotoko to mark May 9 anniversary

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The nation’s most successful clubs, Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko will play a friendly match on Saturday, May 14 at the Ohene Djan Stadium, Accra to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the May 9 Stadium Disaster.

The clash serves the climax to activities penciled down to mark the decade celebrations of the anniversary of the darkest day in Ghana football.

One hundred and twenty-six (126) fans died with several scores of supporters injured during a Premier League match between Hearts and Kotoko on May 9, 2001.

Clement Kofi Humado, Minister of Youth and Sports at a press launch of the anniversary on Wednesday, said series of activities have been lined up to mark the event in consultation with officials of the two Clubs and other stakeholders.

He said a press briefing have been scheduled for May 9 and a symposium two days later to discuss issues on stadium safety and security, role of the media in curbing crowd hooliganism, adherence to best sports practices, facility management and sports insurance.

The Minister added that the Anniversary Planning Committee will lead a procession on Saturday, May 13, through some principal streets within the national capital which will terminate at the forecourt of the Ohene Djan Stadium with a wreath laying ceremony.

“From Friday, May 13 to Sunday, May 15, we appeal for a nationwide religious service by Christians, Muslims and Traditionalists for the victims,” said Humado.

Humado cited supporters’ hooliganism, unprofessional crowd handling by security officers, provocative media comments and bad officiating as factors that lead to disasters, and that the commemoration is to create wide and greater awareness as well as educate the public on stadium disasters and its effects.

Rueben Nii Nortey Dua, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports and Chairman of the Planning Committee said the Clubs and the various stakeholders have concerted to aid the activities and expressed optimism on a befitting programme.

John Sackah Addo, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the May 9 Disaster Fund described the 10th anniversary as unique in the sense that it is the first time that his outfit and the Ministry are together planning an event for the commemoration.

He urged all to desist from acts that may give birth to such occurrences in the not too distant future.

Meanwhile, the National Sports Council have announced rates of GH¢1 and GH¢2 to be charged during the Hearts of Oak-Asante Kotoko match.

According to the Planning Committee, proceeds of the match will be channeled through maintenance of facilities at the Ohene Djan Stadium as stated in the recommendations of the Okudzeto Commission.

Asante Kotoko beat Hearts of Oak by a lone goal in the maiden encounter held in 2010.

Source: GNA

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