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26.06.2021 Opinion

Jerome Otchere writes: Fabulous, please have no phobia…

By Jerome Otchere
Spectators at a previous Hearts-Kotoko game in Accra.
LISTEN JUN 26, 2021
Spectators at a previous Hearts-Kotoko game in Accra.

It should gladden us – especially Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko supporters that, regardless of the hefty blow Covid-19 have dealt us over a year and more, we can still congregate at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday to have fun as we watch our teams battle on the pitch for precious three points.

Pride and bragging rights will inevitably come with the three points. This is one moment in Ghana football we relish even if our game still has so much grounds to cover in terms of development. In this piece, I’m sharing my concerns and expectations. First, it’s a shame that we didn’t get the 25 per cent seating capacity arrangement increased to at least 50 per cent given supporters’ high interest in this game.

How the state has managed the Covid-19 scourge relative to mass gathering and social distancing smacks of hypocrisy and double standards. That, in some instances, has left me to wonder if there are different rules for the political class in managing the plague. I thought ensuring that spectators with tickets queue and sit two or three seats away from each other in an open space like the stadium, would’ve been much easier to handle if we’re truly committed to freeing up the restrictions.

It looks like when it’s about the politicians, the rules on mass gatherings and social distancing differ. Anyway, evidence of tickets being hoarded abounds the same way proof of Kotoko fans not getting tickets to purchase have been established. It’s unfortunate. But, please, fans, use your heads and not your hearts. Stay away from the stadium if you don’t have tickets. No tickets will be sold at the gates, we’ve been told. I sincerely hope this will be strictly adhered to.

On the game, we’ve created enough buzz on the airwaves and using social media. The media have engaged fans and the key actors – telling the stories various shapes and forms as always. I’m not reluctant to admit that Hearts of Oak are in good form. That’s even fine for Kotoko, who must cover every mile to overpower Hearts; who, eager to win, will also have to double their performance.

Spectators stand to benefit the most in that regard. Tied on 56 points but separated by Hearts’ seemingly healthy goal difference, whoever wins this game is most likely to be the league champion. I’ve enjoyed the neck-to-neck race amidst the problems associated with our game: insecurity, inadequate finances, bad pitches, refereeing controversies, etc.

Nevertheless, may none of us allow any of these negatives – particularly poor refereeing, to take centre stage or be the talking point after the game and that, whichever side wins or loses, the ultimate winner will be Ghana football. It must be a fabulous day. We shouldn’t have any phobia.

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