Player harrassment now belongs to history in Ghana and our soccer is not only seeing respect for human liberty, but safety of footballers.
We all remember the agony players went through years back by virtue of their unintentional technical mistakes on the field of play. It was so horrible for fans to assault Santrofie Acquah when a so called preventable goal was scored against Hearts by Cornerstones in Kumasi in 1988 after the player had refused to apply the "safety first" method.
In a related case of Joe Addo, he was accused of wasting a penalty aganst Kotoko in a 4 June anniversary cup match in 1989. Hearts were 2-0 up and when Kotoko`s Muhamed Odoom fouled slippery Opoku Agyemang (Aduro) for the referee to whistle for a penalty, it then became clear that for the first time in many years, Hearts were going to record a hat-trick in a game against Kotoko. However, Joe Addo was so unlucky as his shot was saved by Odoom. Kotoko had a consolation through a Yussif Alhassan`s well-taken penalty to end the game 2:1 after which a section of the fan! s accused Addo for allegedly preventing a massive phobia win. This happened years before Olympics` Nii Darko Ankrah wasted a 90th minute penalty against Hearts of Oak which fans did not spare him the blame. Similarly, Sarfo Gyamfi was chased after a Ghana-Zambia match in Accra in 1988 for dismal performance. I don`t know the reaction of fans towards alledged bribery case levelled against Kotoko`s Kuuku Dadzie and Dan Oppong when Kotoko lost 1:2 to Hearts on october 18th 1976.
On July 1 1992, when Eric Asamoah`s 18th minute strike won the day for Hearts against Kotoko in Kumasi, Kotoko`s Isaac Kwakye was not only accused of playing it soft against Hearts but for wasting what people believed as a golden chance against goalkeeper Ali Jaraah. Other cases ranging from verbal to physical assault occurred in the 90s and players even refused to take penalty due to fear of public threat should they fail to score.
Today, this negative aspect of soccer has dissappeared. We all know that clubs have structures through which grievances could be addressed. If a player is performing below par (which only the coach can tell), you can channel your case through the appropriate quarters. That is the beauty of football. We understand that some referees also present a horrible image of themsleves on the pitch but assaulting them would not solve any problem. All we have to do is to foward our protest to the moderators of the game.
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