Tuesday, February 10, 2009

4 DIE IN K'SI...After Hearts break hearts (GRAPHIC SPORTS, LEAD STORY)

ON a day that football was expected to be the winner, overcrowding and shock created another blot on Ghana football as four football fans died at the Baba Yara Stadium last Sunday.
Hearts of Oak had crushed their archrivals, Kumasi Asante Kotoko, 2-1 in a Glo Premier League top liner but the celebrations were overshadowed by the grief resulting from the deaths.
It was the second time in nine years that precious lives have been lost in a match involving the two giants.
On May 9, 2000, 127 souls were lost in a similar league match between the two teams at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra. Hearts won 2-1 on the day.
Only one of the dead from Sunday's match had been identified as of 10am yesterday. His name was given as Bruce Oteng, a young graduate of the University of Education, Winneba. Four others were on admission at the Casualty Ward and the Medical Emergency Unit of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi.
One of them said he collapsed after Hearts had scored the first goal in the 11th minute.
The Baba Yara Stadium was constructed to seat 44,120 but an estimated crowd of 60,000 jammed the stadium last Sunday, forcing fans to fight for space in the stand.
Officials said about 300 people collapsed in the midst of the heat from the scorching sun.
Gates were opened at 8am but as early as 7am long queues had been formed at the gates.
At 2pm an announcement was made in the stadium asking officials to close the gates, since the stadium was over-packed.
With the casualties growing in the stands, the Ghana National Fire Service saved the situation to some extent, as one of its fire engines sprayed water into the stands to reduce the heat.
On the game itself, Asante Kotoko would admit that a better side beat them.
Hearts showed a high level of technical approach and had they been focused in front of goal, they would have buried Kotoko with at least four goals in the first half.
Coach Kosta Papic played arguably the best midfield machine in the league with Kofi Abanga, Esme Mends and Obed Ansah in full glow.
The young lads left Kotoko bereft of ideas and as they spread the ball around, Kotoko struggled with an antidote to contain a Hearts team filled with much finesse.
Hearts' team manager, Sabahn Quaye, said Kotoko made too much noise before the match forgetting that Hearts of today were better than Kotoko.
"Today we have shown them the stuff we possess and there is no turning back," he said.
Some Kotoko supporters blamed their technical bench for what they call poor selection, questioning how a player like Charles Boateng be asked to play against Hearts.
To the supporters, Maurice Cooreman was the bane of the team and should be sacked by management.
Indeed, Kotoko's defence made up of Boateng, Inkoom, Louis Quainoo and Ofosu Appiah appeared not up to the task and Hearts had a field day terrorizing them.
But the Hearts' defence looked superb. Osei Bonsu was a pillar, doing a majestic job to render Alex Asamoah completely anonymous in the game.

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