The charade in memory of the ‘victims’ of the May 9th 2001 Stadium Disaster will commence unabated. The crowning moment will be a match between Hearts of Oak and the youth side of Asante Kotoko. After which there will be big speeches, filled with vain promises, assurances and bla bla bla!
Of course, if I did not know Ghana football better, I would have argued that institutional conscience alone should be enough for Hearts of Oak and especially Asante Kotoko to take this game serious. But how can they be bothered? After all, this whole May 9th TALK is just what it is …bla bla bla!As usual, one week to the 9th of May, the TALK will begin. Officials, politicians, fans, journalists and internet coaches will jam the airwaves with hot air. They will speak nicely of the dead and condemn the living. They will produce a tall list of lessons to be learnt and bla bla bla!
Twenty four hours will not pass before everyone one forgets what happened on May 9th 2001. How Assistant Referee Yawson Yeboah had ruled that Hearts of Oak’s Ishmael Addo’s was obstructing play in an offside position before scoring against Asante Kotoko. How Referee Wilson Sey disagreed and decided that his judgement was better than Yeboah’s. How Kumasi Asante Kotoko fans feeling cheated, went berserk; tearing down the then Accra Sports Stadium (now Ohene Djan).
Everyone will forget how trigger-happy policemen fired tear gas into the crowd to stop them from destroying state property…..and how people chocked to death like flies in a futile attempt to escape the effects of the gas. How heroic Ghanaians sacrificed their energy and time to save some more people from dying. How all of this happened live on television and yet, not a single soul has been arrested and prosecuted even though a committee was set to do the usual bla bla bla!
In the end, millions of Ghana cedis [likely unaccounted for] will have been spent in remembrance of victims of a problem no one is interested in solving. Bad officiating, undisciplined fans and unenforced rules represent three faces of the same problem which is fast eating away the beauty of Ghana football. Soon after May 9th 2001, there was so much TALK, one would have thought this problem was to be solved come the following season. But, of course, it was all bla bla bla !
Fast-forward 8 seasons to Glo Premier League 2009/2010. The season is littered with miniature May 9th 2001 scenarios – poor officiating, crowd violence, improperly enforced rules and more violence. This vicious cycle of continues unabated at all premier and lower division league centres season after season. The best the FA ever does beyond the usual TALK is to ban the club from playing in one stadium or the other plus a fine which does little to uproot the problem.
No amount of celebration, remembrance games, cash donation or posthumous honours will befit the honour the dead and their bereaved family if a sustainable solution is not found to this vicious cycle.
IF the Glo Premier League 2010/2011 ends sometime in MAY 2011 with reduced cases of poor officiating and zero crowd violence, we can collectively beat our chests with pride. We can pat ourselves on the back because we would have truly given the victims of May 9 2001 disaster a befitting remembrance. Until then, whatever we do is just another bla bla bla!