May 9th disaster: GFA sends out tribute to mark 23 years of remembrance

By: Nana Kwame Bediako 

May 9th, 2001, was a brutal day in the Ghanaian football scene, as lives were lost in what has been the biggest stadium disaster to have ever happened in the history of football in Ghana. The Accra Sports Stadium hosted the biggest game in Ghanaian football between Accra Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko, causing the deaths of 127 football fans.

Marking 23 years of remembrance since the disaster occurred, Ghana Football Association President Kurt Okraku has sent out a tribute to commemorate the heartbreaking incident as football fans and the FA continue to remember all the 127 lost souls involved in the disaster.

“These commemorative events serve as constant reminders that our continuing efforts to rid Ghana Football of holiganism and make our stadiums safe is the biggest tribute we can pay to those who unfortunately died and those who were scarred by the events of May 9th, 2021. Their sacrifice will be meaningless if we relent in this  endeavour,” said Kurt Okraku.

Below is the full statement:

Twenty-three years ago, on May 9th, 2001, thousands of vibrant men and women converged at the Accra Sports Stadium to witness the nation’s biggest local league fixture – Accra Hearts of Oak versus Kumasi Asante Kotoko.

Twenty – three years ago, millions of football enthusiasts sat glued to their television sets watching in horror as barely a few minutes after that absorbing contest ended, news of rising deaths from a stampede at the stadium started filtering through. At last official count, one hundred and twenty seven football fans were reported to have lost their lives in what came to be known as the May 9th Disaster.

Year in, year out, the football fraternity and its friends huddle together to honour the memory of the dearly departed and to share strength with the families they left behind and those who sustained injuries on that dark day in Ghana’s football history.

For us, at the Ghana Football Association, these commemorative events serve as constant reminders that our continuing efforts to rid Ghana Football of hooliganism and make our stadiums safe is the biggest tribute we can pay to those who unfortunately died and those who were scarred by the events of May 9th, 2021. Their sacrifice will be meaningless if we relent in this endeavour.

As we commemorate that day, our thoughts and prayers remain with all who were affected by the May 9th Disaster. We pray for continuing comfort for us all as we remain resolute in our faith in the Almighty.

May the souls of our dearly departed brothers and sisters continue to rest in perfect peace.

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