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Soccer News of Tuesday, 4 February 2003

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Drama at Hearts of Oak match

A DEEPER crisis than what currently pertains in Kumasi Asante Kotoko looms large at rival club Accra Hearts of Oak after the two main factions of the Phobian fraternity clashed at the Accra Stadium last Sunday.

The protracted feud was temporarily revived when key members of the two factions came face to face at the VIP Lounge of the stadium prior to the Hearts-Bendu FC international friendly.

Within minutes, tension had begun mounting in the area, with some Hearts fans besieging the entrance to the VIP Box and calling for the blood of two directors of Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club, Messrs Bright Akwetey and T.V. Musah.

In the process, Mr. Akwetey stepped out of the VIP Box to verify from the raging fans what their concerns were. To this, the fans replied that they did not want the presence of the two at the stadium since the match was organized by the management of Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club Limited and not the Sporting club of 1991.

The fans also contended that their presence at the Stadium represented a threat to the peace in the club since rumours were rife that the two had planned to take over the club immediately after the match.

However, sensing danger, former chairman Harry Zakkour who witnessed the proceedings from the word go hurriedly called in the security personnel at the main gate of the stadium to deal with the mounting tension.

Soon afterwards, Mr. Akwetey and his colleague were led to their car and they drove away to prevent any bloodly clash between rival supporters.

Later in an interview, Mr. Akwetey explained that he left the stadium mainly to avert an imminent clash between supporters of the two factions.

He described the whole incident as very unfortunate and wondered why even as an ordinary Ghanaian, he cannot be allowed to watch a match at the Accra Stadium.

He attributed the fans action to a scheme initiated by Messrs Thomas Okine, Alhaji Hearts and Ernest Thompson. He noted that the three officials were seen making certain moves before the incident and was therefore not surprised about what happened later.

According to him, he was at the Accra Stadium a couple of weeks ago to watch a match involving A.C. Olympiakos when he had a telephone call that some management members of Hearts were organizing some fans to attack him.

Contrary to general opinion of a section of Hearts fans who felt uncomfortable with his presence at the stadium last Sunday, Mr. Akwetey explained his mission as simply going there to watch the match as another Liberian side, Foresters FC, had impressed him so much in a similar match against Hearts during their tenure of office.

He disclosed that he had been making frantic efforts to unite the rank and file of the club but the other faction is simply not co-operating.

He bemoaned the lack of accountability currently in the club and hoped that the tide would be stemmed sooner than later.

When contacted, Mr. Ernest Thompson described the incident as an issue between the supporters of Hearts and Bright Akwetey and therefore did not want to comment on it.

He, however, expected Bright Akwetey's group to be guided by what is prevailing in the club now to let peace prevail.

A leading supporter of Kotobabi Chapter 88, Ken Saro Wiwa, who spoke for the fans insisted that they expected the Bright Akwetey faction to drop the court case against the current management to facilitate smooth peace talks between the two groups.

He described anything short of that as a threat to the current peace prevailing in the club and advised the opposing faction to either comply with the directive or leave the club alone.

Meanwhile, the case in which a Hearts fan, Desmond Addoquaye Addo, of Tema is asking the current management of Hearts to render accounts from the transfer of 22 players of the club, among others, will be heard by an Accra High Court on Thursday.