THE Ashanti Regional Police Command will put up tight security at the Baba Yara Stadium on Sunday to prevent any nasty incident when bitter rivals, Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak, square off in a Glo Premier League match.
Regional Police Commander, DCOP Patrick Timbillah, told the Daily Graphic in Kumasi yesterday that, “We are aware of what happened last year when people lost their lives in the name of football and we are leaving nothing to chance to ensure the anticipated large number of fans who would watch the match return home safely”.
He said while a number of police and other security personnel would be in charge at the stadium, the military would be on stand-by to respond positively to any unforeseen events.
Last year, two people suffocated to death in the over-packed Baba Yara Stadium when Hearts defeated Kotoko 2-1 in a Premier League match.
A committee chaired by Kumasi lawyer, Mr Bill Marshall Beilieb, was set up by the then Minister of Youth and Sports, Alhaji Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak, to look into the incident and give recommendations to prevent future occurrence.
The committee’s report led to sanctions against some officials of the National Sports Council (NSC), managers of the stadium.
It also gave other recommendations, some of which could not be carried out.
One significant decision emanating from the committee’s decisions was the categorization of football matches in the country, with matches between the arch-rivals tagged Category “A”.
Consequently, when Ghana’s version of the ‘El-Clasico’ comes off on Sunday, police said the security measures would measure up to the demands of Category “A” matches.
“We would leave nothing to chance to make the match safe for all,” Mr Timbillah said.
The regional commander said his outfit would liaise with the NSC and the management of the home team, Asante Kotoko, in all aspects of the security measures because they also have a part to play in making the match peaceful.
He called on fans to comport themselves to make the work of the security personnel less difficult.