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12.02.2009 Editorial

Implementation is the answer


Yesterday, we used this column to express our disgust about the death of four soccer fans in Kumasi. The four were said to have collapsed during the Kotoko-Hearts of Oak Glo premier league match and died later in hospital, due to excessive heat in the Stadium. We recall the May 9th disaster at the then Accra Sports Stadium and we believe that our authorities have still not learnt any lessons from that painful experience.

The Chronicle is, therefore, happy that due to the tragic nature of the incident and the extensive publication that was given to the incident, it has attracted presidential response, with President Atta Mills issuing a press statement directing an enquiry into the death of the four soccer fans. The President has really demonstrated that he cares and we congratulate him for his urgent response to the Kumasi tragedy. The Chronicle does not, however, believe in the mere setting up of a committee to investigate the incident, but the full enforcement of the recommendations of the yet to be constituted committee.

When the May 9th disaster occurred, the Okudzeto Committee was set to investigate it. We think if those who control our soccer facilities had paid serious attention to the recommendations of the Okudzeto Committee, the country would not have been experiencing the latest incident that has led to another tragic but avoidable deaths.

We are, therefore, calling on President Mills to ensure that whatever recommendations that would be made by the committee that he is going to set up to investigate the Kumasi incident is religiously enforced. If possible, it must be given legal backing, so that those who would flout it in future will be dealt with according to law.

In the interim, we suggest that the military be brought in to support the police to ensure adequate security during soccer matches, especially the high profile ones.

The military have already been doing an excellent work at the Tamale Stadium, therefore they have the expertise to come in and help. Though the last time we won the African Cup of Nations was in 1982, Ghana is still considered as one of the big soccer nations in Africa, a reputation we must jealously guide and protect. We hope those who have ears are listening to us, and would not sit idle for the high reputation that Ghana sports has earned to be dragged into the gutter.

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