Soccer News of Wednesday, 2 October 2002
Source: Accra Mail
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has appealed to the Inspector General of Police to order an immediate investigation into an incident in which a group of supporters of Asante Kotoko were attacked by another group of the same club at its press centre on Tuesday.
In the process of the attack, the group assaulted some of the journalists covering a press conference being organised by the first group, overturned chairs and tables as well as gadgets of public address system belonging to the GJA.
It said members of the group could be easily identified through a video tape by Metro TV which captured the scene.
The association condemned the assault and asked all football clubs to educate their supporters on the need to be tolerant of the views of others and recognise the importance of freedom of expression.
The "macho men" had disrupted a press conference organised by a group calling itself 'Concerned Supporters of Kumasi Asante Kotoko'.
They laid siege to the place in the middle of the conference and flung chairs and tables away, ripped off the giant size banner of the concerned supporters and immersed it in a filthy pool of water in the gutter. They ordered the TV cameramen and other sports journalists to discontinue the coverage of the event.
Under the command of Alhaji Mahmoud Heavy Dee, the macho men numbering about a dozen contended that the organisers of the press conference were supporters of Accra Hearts of Oak.
They traded punches with their adversaries and threatened more severe action if they tried to continue the conference. Some of the organisers took refuge in the offices of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) to escape the invaders while the journalists ran helter-skelter to avoid being hit.
Alhaji Dee told GNA Sports after they had succeeded in halting the conference that the action of the concerned supporters was to derail the African Cup Winners Cup ambition of the Kumasi club and discredit Herbert Mensah who has laboured very hard to get the club back into continental contention.
He said Herbert had spent millions of cedis to cater for the players and coaches of Kotoko and it would be wrong for any true Kotoko supporter to spite him, adding that the Chairman needs commendation and not condemnation.
The concerned supporters under the chairmanship of Kwamina Abdul Salaam had convened the press conference to speak on issues that are "negatively affecting the fortunes of out great club".
They claimed that they had worked closely with Herbert when he assumed the mantle of leadership and detoured only after they had discovered that the chairman had a hidden agenda for his own benefit and not for the
benefit of the club. They said it was therefore unfortunate for Herbert to describe them as 'faceless'.
"The balance sheet of Herbert Mensah's administration shows a huge deficit. Because of his dictatorship, Kotoko is now more divided than ever in its history."
Expressing misgivings about the accounting system of Kotoko, the supporters said they could not understand why Herbert should say Kotoko owes him "close to six billion cedis" when matches are hyped to attract big crowds and increased revenue.
"Questionable transfers and declaration of gate proceeds are matters that have generated much controversy and we are of the firm belief that all that has happened because of the unaccountable system of administration Herbert Mensah operated initially," they said.
They condemned "Herbert Mensah's violent confrontation with Matthew Addae, Kwadwo Twum Boafo, Harry Zakkour and coach Ian Potterfield and his rude attitude towards Mr Edward Osei Kwaku, Minister of Youth and Sports.
"We are more than convinced that Herbert Mensah isn't going to take Kotoko anywhere and so it will be better he leaves as he himself has said," they concluded.
Other executive members of the concerned supporters were Abu Suleiman, Alhaji Mohammed Ahmed Idriss, Yahuza Khalid, Safianu Suleiman and Alhaji Tanko Osumanu.