15 Years Gone… Ghana Weeps Again As She Marks 15th Anniversary Of May 9 Disaster

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the May 9 disaster that claimed the lives of 127 football supporters at the Accra Sports Stadium in 2001. The May 9 anniversary will be marked across the country with the main events taking place in Kumasi.

On May 9, 2001, a rival league match between Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko claimed the lives of 127 supporters following a disagreement over a refereeing decision. The victims had gone to the stadium to watch the match between Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak.

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It happened that some fans began throwing objects onto the football pitch to protest a supposed unfairness exhibited by the referee from Cape Coast referee, J. Wilson-Sey, following an equalizing goal from Accra Hearts of Oak.

Memorial of the Accra Stadium Disaster
Memorial of the Accra Stadium Disaster

The disagreement had escalated to something bloody when the different supporters resorted to bottles and other weapons to get themselves ‘heard’. The police had begun firing tear gas into the raging crowd in their bid to restore peace at the pitch.

However, in the quest to exit the premises, a stampede ensued leaving about 127 individuals dead and many others injured.

May 9 Victims
May 9 Victims

The place of the incident was left with massive blood stains and rubbles of weapons from the clash. This became the worst stadium disaster to have ever taken place in Africa. After the May 9 disaster, the day was tagged ‘black Wednesday’ as it represents the darkest day in Ghanaian football history.

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And so the memory of the horrible incident, will take place at the May 9 memorial. Both representatives of Hearts of Oak and Kototko will be present. The Referees Association of Ghana, the Ghana Football Association and a number of supporter groups will participate in a seminar dubbed “Rules of Soccer” with the aim of imparting knowledge on what constitutes appropriate behaviour during matches and places that attract large crowds.