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Sports News of Wednesday, 27 April 2016


South Africa to join Ghana in May 9th Remembrance Anniversary

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Ghana will be commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Accra Sports Stadium disaster where 127 fans died during a match between Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko.

An official inquiry in Ghana blamed police for over-reacting with reckless behaviour and indiscriminate firing of plastic bullets and tear gas.

It also accused some officers of dishonesty and indefensible laxity

Reports claimed that medical staff had already left the stadium as the incident happened near the end of the match.

Some gates were locked, preventing escape. Six police officers were charged with 127 counts of manslaughter afterwards, but the court ruled that the prosecution had failed to make a case.

The commission of inquiry recommended improvements to stadium security and first aid facilities, and that nationwide rapid response teams should be set up.

Since that tragic day on 9 May 2001 a group of people in Ghana led by the then Chairman of Asante Kotoko, Mr. Herbert Mensah, have religiously remembered the day with activities and events across the country.

According to the organisers of the annual remembrance events 2016 will be different in the sense that a long standing desire by Mr. Mensah to give the event an international character will be realised.

With the help of City Press in South Africa two children of the victims of the 2001 Ellis Park stadium disaster of 2001 were identified and they will join Mr. Mensah and the May 9th Memorial organising team for 2016 remembrance activities in Kumasi.

Ntlakanipho Zulu who lost both his parents in the worst sporting tragedy in South African history is now 23 years old.

According to him it was difficult to watch football matches, particularly the much-loved derbies between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs.

In an interview with City Press Zulu said: “My mother was a Chiefs fan. My dad was just there to support her. He was a Sundowns fan himself.”

His mother, Selina Maphanga, died at 25. His father, Nhlanhla Zulu, was 30. Young Ntlakanipho was left an orphan, and his half-brother and half-sister had also lost a father.

He was raised by his grandparents in Duduza township on the East Rand.

Today he’s studying at Wits towards his honours in international relations and hopes to enter the diplomatic service, and relishing a dream to work at the United Nations in New York.

Mmakgomo Matshidiso Tshetlo, who is now 28 years old, saw her dad the last time during the first school holidays of the year in which he passed away that tragic day on 11 April 2001.

According to her she had a strange and perhaps predictive dream that her father had passed on from a shooting incident which was reported in the City Press.

She shared the horrifying details of the dream with her mother and aunt not knowing that in few weeks to follow the dream would become a reality.

In another message of remembrance from South Africa Ernst Middendorp, who was the head coach of Asante Kotoko at the time of the May 9th tragedy in 2001, said that he vividly remembers the horror of that day and that his heart goes out to the family and friends of the victims who have suffered for so many years as a result of their loss.

The 15th remembrance activities in Kumasi will include a massive street march, visits to the mosque and a church and a special May 9th football match between teams from Accra and Kumasi.