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13.09.2005 Football News

Hearts report assault and intimidation at Obuasi

By GNA

Accra, Sept 13, GNA - Accra Hearts of Oak has sent a protest letter to the Ghana Football Association (GFA) against the way some members of their technical team and playing staff were assaulted by fans of Ashgold during their 22nd week GT Premier League encounter at the Len Sports Stadium.

A statement issued by Ashford Tettey Oku, Administrative Manager of the Club said before the match, some 'thugs of Ashgold' visibly supported by deliberate acts of omission or commission by some of their club officials and security personnel went on rampage by intimidating and assaulting members of the team.

The statement said that the bitter experience of the team before and during the match was in direct contravention of terms agreed on by the two sides during pre-match conference that the two sides agreed for a clean atmosphere for the match.

It said the maltreatment started at the entrance to the dressing room where unfortunately there was no policeman in sight but rather "Machomen" who subjected the team to searches, seizing balls meant for warm-up as well as ice cubes, water and energy drinks of the team in addition to destroying the two ice chest of the Club. The statement said pleas from Mr Stephen Akwetey, a management member of Hearts to Policemen and their Commander around for help went unheeded.

"The situation worsened when the "machomen" positioned inside the dressing room, pounced on Solomon Okutu, a player of the club with a barrage of punches, injuring him in the process thus denying us of his services.

Furthermore our Coach Sanzio Bahner was hit on the shoulder with an object and his hand is currently in a sling".

It said the worse was to come when Andy Sam, Ashgold's Chief Executive watched in contentment as Sabahn Quaye, the Assistant Team Manager of Hearts was attacked with blows and kicks and had to be saved by the players of the team in a free for all fight.

"Mr J. B. Eyison, the Match Commissioner was not left out of the brutalities as his attempt to save Mr Quaye resulted in him receiving his fair share of the brutalities".

On the pitch of play, the statement said Ashgold players un-sportingly pounced on the players of Hearts as they gathered for prayers and pep talk just before play started.

"But to our surprise the Police reinforcement promised during the pre-match was non-existent and even when we identified three of the 'machomen' who led the assault, they failed to effect their arrest".

The statement said some semblance of sanity only prevailed after Hearts threatened to boycott the match as their safety could not be guaranteed.

It continued that the nation's image was further dented when a foreign Television crew in the country to do a profile on possible candidates for the World Cup were prevented from covering shots of the two leading goalkeepers of the country, Sammy Adjei of Hearts and George Owu of Ashgold.

The statement informed the Ghana Football Association that the insistence of Hearts to use their own football instead of using balls provided by Ashgold thus delayed the start of the match. It said the Club has been through ordeals at the Kaladan and Gyandu Parks but what happened at the Obuasi Len Clay Sports Stadium on Sunday cannot be compared to any of them.

"These nasty incidents disrupted the focus of the team coming in the wake of a similar treatment some years ago that resulted in Amankwa Mireku being hit by a flying chair that rendered the player inactive for some time".

The statement said Hearts as an establishment have constantly educated their fans to be tolerant in the face such attacks but humans as their supporters are, they can naturally succumb to acts of revenge if appropriate steps are not taken to get rid of such unsavoury acts from the game.

Hearts in a bid to support their claims included the medical report of Saban Quaye and Solomon Okutu in addition to a picture of their Coach with his hands in a sling.

Meanwhile Hearts have also denied a report made by Mr K. Johnfia, the Match Commissioner who reported in the Graphic Sports that Hearts players did not follow the referee unto the turf of play. It said contrary to the statement by Johnfia who reported late that day for the formalities, the two teams followed FIFA Referee Alex Kotey from the dressing room unto the field of play for the normal toss of coin.

"There was therefore no situation where the referee was left to stand on the pitch alone whilst Hearts refused to respond to his call. 13 Sept 05

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