Soccer News Mon, 4 Mar 2002

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Soccer fans disgust about late postponement of Hearts-Kotoko match

Thousands of football fans encountered one of their biggest disappointment moments when on the eleventh hour the much tooted Super Cup match between arch rivals Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko slated for last Sunday took a swipe, being called off.

The Sports Ministry, according to a statement signed by the Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, Mr Joe Aggrey, considered the Accra Sports Stadium, the venue for the match unsafe after a final security check on Saturday afternoon. Officials of Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak say they got the information at about 5.00 pm on Saturday.

Whiles Kotoko arrived in the nation’s capital from their home base, Kumasi, four days to the match, Hearts had been in camp for more than a week for final brush ups. Mr Herbert Mensah reacted angrily to the postponement of the match and blamed the FA for this state of affairs. Both clubs intend to put in some claims for the preparatory expenses.

“They should have hinted us long ago when they realised the match was not coming off and not to wait until the eleventh hour as if we don’t matter in their scheme of things.” These were the fuming words of Kwame Adarkwa (and that of many), a 36-year old Kumasi-based Hearts of Oak fan who travelled to Accra on Saturday night in the hope of watching the Champion of Champions duel. He was informed at the Stadium on Sunday afternoon that the match had been postponed.

However, a source at the National Sports Council (NSC), expatiating on the cancellation said since the North Wing of the Stadium from where 126 people had died last May, would be closed to fans during the match, an unbearable pressure was likely to be exerted on the other stands “and this could result in another catastrophe.” On that score, the NSC officially believes the cancellation of the high-profile encounter was in the right direction.

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