Feature: What lessons can we take from Kotoko’s tragedy?

Sports News of Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Source: GHANAsoccernet.com

2017-07-19

Kotoko Accident PrayFile photo; Logo of Kumasi Asante Kotoko

The entire nation was thrown into a state of shock when the bus of Asante Kotoko Football club got involved in a fatal accident at Nkawkaw near Abepotia on Wednesday July 12.

The accident which was unexpected, occurred at night when the team was returning to Kumasi from Accra after honoring a football match with Inter Allies Football Club at Tema.

The sad aspect of the accident is that it has caused the death of the Deputy Equipment Officer of the club, Kofi Asare with injuries to the team Coach Steven Polack and other players and extensive damage to the clubs’ bus.

Being a top football nation in Africa, the accident traumatized not only the owner of the club Otumfuor Osei Tutu the second, management and playing body but the nation as a whole. The President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo as well as the former President John Mahama and the Captain of Black Stars, Asamoah Gyan extended their words of sympathy to the club and its management over the accident.

The Ghana Football Association went further to provide funding towards medical care for the injured persons. As custom demands they together heads of all the football teams in Ghana would surely offer assistance in the funeral and burial of the staff of the club. To cap it all, a Kumasi based philanthropist has offered to donate a new bus to the club in place of the damaged one. Religious leaders and their followers who believe in destiny would say the accident is “God ordained”.

As usual There are those especially Prophet Reindolf Oduro Gyebi of God’s Crown Chapel of Kumasi, whose supposed constant contact with God just like T.B Joshua claimed to have fore knowledge of the accident. Whatever the case the accident would have negative effect on Asante Kotoko one of the leading clubs in Ghana. Apart from having psychological effect on the players, most of whom are in good physical shape, it would take some time for them to regain their psychological and emotional standpoints to be able to hold their own. There is therefore the need for a clinical psychologists and some physiotherapists to be employed immediately to follow up on the health of the team to regain their prowess.

Due to the accident on Asante Kotoko, the current football league in Ghana would suffer a setback. The postponement of the match involving the two glamorous teams in Ghana, Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oaks following the accident would go a long way to affect coming events involving Asante Kotoko. That would definitely affect the entire football league matches in Ghana which are played throughout the country in rapid succession. The president and members of the Ghana Football Association have a duty to follow up on problems that would emerge as a result of the accident.

It is likely that football teams have been getting into accidents as they travel to match venues. However, none has been more fatal as the one involving the defunct real republicans, the Kwame Nkrumah’s own club. The motor accident occurred at Kpeve in the Volta region on March 4, 1963; when the team was returning to Accra after a league match against Volta Heroes at Kpandu just as happened to Asante Kotoko. What is disheartening being that when the accident happened, Baba Yara one of the most glamorous footballers of all times in Ghana, got seriously injured leading to his career getting curtailed tragically in his prime at the age of just 26.

It is 53 years since the accident involving real republicans occurred. We don’t seem to have learnt lessons on how to ferry footballers especially after football encounters on venues a long distant away safely. As in the case involving Real Republicans there seem to be blame game at play involving the accident the Asante Kotoko team. While some people are blaming the driver of the bus for the accident others say the management failed to use their discretion to allow the Asante Kotoko team to rest overnight and travel the following day.

As a result of the differences of opinion on the accident the Ghana Football Association has a duty to set up a committee to unearth the real reasons behind the accident with the view to finding solution to them. In view of the poor nature on portions of our roads, the GFA could provide orders for the clubs to stop travelling on long distances at night thereby allowing drivers of the vehicles to have enough rest.

The GFA in cooperation with all the league clubs in Ghana must get all their buses properly insured together with the entire players and officials. As part of the insurance cover for the players and their buses an incentive package could be made available to all clubs who would be able to maintain a clean accident free record over a long period. While expressing sympathy for Asante Kotoko Football Club over the recent accident, it is our desire that the club and all team in Ghana would learn lessons from the accident to be able to find solution to it now and into the future.

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