Cripple Caused Kotoko's Downfall ?
Kumasi Asante Kotoko last Wednesday lost 1-4 to AshGold. That is beyond dispute. But certain incidents that took place at the Len Clay Sports Stadium need urgent attention in order to prevent a recurrence in the future.
Though most teams have been complaining at the treatment Obuasi fans always mete out to them, nothing has been done about this, and Len Clay continues to be a dangerous venue for visiting teams.
Last Wednesday saw a breakdown in discipline and total disregard for the law, hooliganism was at its best and there was a display of strange spiritual practices.
What happened was a shameful event that should never be allowed to grow in Ghana football.
During the recess of the match and at the time the score was 1-1, a cripple was carried to the Kotoko posts where in the full glare of policemen and everybody at the Stadium, he urinated in the posts. That was the psychological act AshGold used to break the back of Kotoko through supernatural powers.
The man was carried shoulder high by some fans afterwards with Goldfields officials clapping for him at the VIP. Apart from the urine, the man also planted something in the posts at the time Kotoko substitutes were warming up, and thinking the players might remove it, three macho men stood in the posts to prevent Kotoko players from getting there. One of them even had the courage to throw a ball at Edmund Owusu-Ansah.
The Goldfields reserve goalkeeper, Fatau Dauda also showed how unsportmanly some players are and how indisciplined he could be when without any provocation he attacked Kotoko's reserve goalie, Eric Nii Baah. His crime was that he had questioned those who were performing those rituals in Kotoko's posts. The AshGold player threw punches at the Kotoko reserve goalie and also hit his head with a ball.
Just before the start of the match, AshGold supporters threw stones at the Kotoko bench for no reason, making the technical team vacate the seat for sometime. The same thing happened after Kotoko scored the first goal with the stones directed at the players on the bench.
The Kotoko supporters as usual suffered when stones where thrown from outside the Stadium to where they were sitting. The Kotoko bus also encountered so many problems before finally getting into the stadium. The bus was stopped at the main gate while the policemen insisted the bus should get in, AshGold security men prevented the bus from doing so, with some of them sprinkling concoctions on the bus.
It became a struggle between the police and the home team's security. When they got in, there was another difficulty getting to the dressing room, as the players remained in the bus for close to thirty minutes before getting out. The home team security were in no mood to allow them in and in frustration, the policemen abandoned their jobs, threatening to leave the stadium until the fans allowed them to do their job. The Kotoko players finally alighted from the bus but some of them were heckled, as the fans insisted they wanted to search them, claiming the order was from the top.
The CEO of Kotoko, Major Larson also had his share of the heckling when the car that took him to the stadium was stopped from entering the gates. With some members of his management team in the car, the CEO was forced to alight while the car was searched but even that, he and his entourage had to plead for a long time before common sense prevailed for them to be allowed in.
Another bunch of hooligans were also let loose, searching the stadium before the match, especially, the press box looking for journalists of Kotoko Express and other media men tagged “against”.
They claim the Kotoko Express under a banner headline “Obuasi Madness” had insulted Goldfields supporters last year after they played Kotoko and lost. Macho men were paraded at the inner perimeter while ball boys were given some objects to throw inside the Kotoko posts intermittently.
The attitude of these people however suddenly changed after the match when they clinched victory. But even then, some Kotoko supporters were sacrificed as some Goldfields supporters manhandled red shirted supporters who were following the Kotoko bus after the match.