The Greater Accra Regional Health Directorate has asked the Confederation of Africa Football to sanction Camerounian defender Andre Bikey for his violent conduct against a first aid official during the Ghana-Cameroun semi-final match of the just-ended Africa Cup of Nations tournament at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium.In a protest letter written to CAF, the regional health directorate said Bikey's conduct was unethical and unprofessional, demanding punitive measures against him to serve as a deterrent to other players in future.
The Director of the National Ambulance Service (NAS), Dr Ahmed Zakariah, who made this known to the Daily Graphic yesterday, said Bikey's conduct could have marred the match had there been a retaliation from the first aid official or irate fans at the stadium.
In the dying minutes of that semi-final match last Thursday, some medical officers rushed to the pitch to attend to an injured Camerounian player at a time Cameroun were leading one-nil.
For inexplicable reasons, Andre Bikey ran to the spot of injury and with full force pushed down one of the first aid officials, Mr Samuel Ashia, sending him (Ashia) sprawling on the ground, leaving the 44,000 spectators in total awe.
The Moroccan referee did not hesitate in flashing his red card at Bikey, causing the stalwart defender not just to miss his team's final match against Egypt, but also what football analysts believe Cameroun's chances of lifting the cup for the fifth time.
Dr Zakariah noted that the medical officers were at the stadium to attend to the health needs of everybody, including players of the various teams, just as first aid providers attend to victims during war situations.
He expressed the hope that CAF would give the letter the serious attention it deserved and respond promptly and appropriately. Giving an overview of the emergency medical intervention put up at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium during the 21-day soccer fiesta, Dr Zakariah, who was a member of the Gold Command of the Emergency Response Team, the highest decision-making medical body at the stadium, described the medical intervention as highly successful.
He attributed the success to the effective measures put in place and the fact that there were not many serious reported cases to address.
“The thing is that when you prepare very well, you normally don't get problems. It is only when you don't prepare well that the problems come”, he remarked. Dr Zakariah commended all members of the medical team for doing a good job despite the challenges they faced.
Previously, there had been a lot of criticism about the nation's level of preparedness for emergency response and the critics are always quick to point at the May 9 disaster at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium.
Dr Zakariah, however, believes that one of the benefits that the nation had derived from Ghana 2008 was the constitution of emergency response teams in the four regions where the matches were played, adding, “this can serve as a basis for the establishment of a national emergency team”.
According to statistics from the emergency medical team, a total of 648 health cases were recorded at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium at the end of the group matches.
The highest number of health cases (306) was recorded during the opening match between Ghana and Guinea on January 20, 2008. That was followed by the third and fourth group matches played on January 24, 2008, during which 162 cases were recorded.
The reported cases included severe headache, bodily pains, stomach pains, stomach upset, malaria, lacerations - trauma, burning sensation, lower back pains, palpitations, upper respiratory track infections, abdominal trauma - ectopic, ankle sprain and cuts.
Among all the cases reported, severe headache was the most prominent.
Story by Kofi Yeboah