The May 9 Foundation has marked 18 years of the Accra Sports Stadium (Ohene Gyan Sports Stadium) disaster with Ramadan prayers and donations at the Kumasi Central Mosque.
Herbert Mensah, former Chairman of Asante Kotoko and founder of the May 9 Remembered annual charity events, joined Muslims and chiefs to pray for the souls of the over 126 football fans who died during the Stadium stampede on May 9, 2001.
Mr. Mensah was chairman of Kotoko in 2001 when the disaster occurred, and he personally participated in conveying and transporting dead bodies and injured soccer fans on that sad day.
This year’s memorial and donations coincided with the start of the Ramadan fasting season for Muslims all over the world.
Mr. Mensah was joined at the Kumasi central Mosque by the Ghana Association of the physically disabled and their patron Aunty Mavis, a British-Ghanaian woman whose charity work in Ghana spans over 64 years.
“We are not only here to support families of the victims of the stadium disaster. Last year we helped children who are dying through other means. This year, we are here with Auntie Mavis, an English-Ghanaian woman who has been working for 64 years to help a group of disabled people in Ghana. She spends most of her time helping the blind, the physically disabled and other poor people. We have come here with her as a recognition of her contribution to the lives of poor people in Ghana,” Mr. Mensah said.
The donations to the Mosque included items from sponsors like Gino products, household consumable products from Sunda International, and an undisclosed amount of money and T-shirts from Interplast.
Herbert Mensah praised the Islamic and traditional leaders of Kumasi for showing respect to those who perished at the Accra sports stadium in 2001.
“Again after 18 years, we come to the house of Allah. We come here with humility. 18 years we have been coming to the Mosque in Kumasi. We get guidance and a sense of direction when we come here. We come here because the Muslim leaders here, the Imams, and the Otumfuo are the only people who give respect to those who lost their lives in the May 9 stadium disaster”.
The Accra sports stadium disaster in Ghana occurred amidst poor officiating and the application of wrong crowd control methods by the Ghana Police Service during a game between rival soccer clubs Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko.
The Ashanti Regional Chief Imam Abdul Mumin, led prayers for the souls of the departed football fans.
In the 18 years since the disaster, no police or football official has paid the price for their role in the historic national tragedy.
Many people who joined the May 9 foundation for the annual memorial believe that the tragic incident of May 9, 2001, has permanently and negatively affected patronage of the local football league games.
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