On May 9, 2001, a disaster occurred at the Accra Sports Stadium during a football match between archrivals Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko. The incident left over 120 people dead and several others injured. Over two decades later, the memories of that tragic day still haunt many, including Alex Appiah, popularly known as Stadium Man, who was among the survivors.
In a recent interview on 3FM’s Sunrise Show, Stadium Man recounted his harrowing experience, noting that every May 9 is a difficult day for him. He explained that the disaster occurred after Kotoko fans were angered by what they perceived as an unfair decision by the referee against their team. The fans responded by throwing stadium seats onto the pitch, leading to chaos and police intervention.
Stadium Man revealed that he was severely injured during the incident, and the doctor who treated him advised him not to work for a year. He added that the stadium is not insured, which means that spectators who get injured have to bear the cost of treatment themselves, a situation that he believes is problematic.
For the most part, Stadium Man blamed the lack of leadership and honesty from those in authority for the problem. He argued that leaders need to be truthful with young people about important issues, such as the risks of attending matches in an uninsured stadium. He also expressed concern about the growing culture of violence among football fans, citing incidents of spectators throwing objects and even pouring urine on each other.
In a nutshell, Stadium Man believes that the May 9 disaster could have been prevented if the authorities had taken adequate measures to ensure the safety of spectators. He called for more accountability and transparency in the management of sports facilities, as well as greater efforts to promote peace and unity among football fans.
As we remember the victims of the May 9 disaster, let us heed Stadium Man’s call for change and work towards a safer and more peaceful future for sports in Ghana.