BARBARISM IN AFRICAN FOOTBALL: The Accra Stadium Disaster

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The entrance to the sports stadium in Accra, capital of Ghana

On This Day In 2001, 126 football fans lost their lives while watching a league game involving Heart of Oaks and Asante Kotoko at the Accra Sports Stadium, Ghana. Officials were anticipating crowd disturbances, and had taken extra security measures when Oak’s two late goals changed the scoreline to 2–1. Angry Kotoko fans threw plastic seats and bottles onto the pitch. Reports claim that medical staff had already left the stadium, as the incident happened near the end of the match. Some gates were locked, preventing escape.

The police responded by firing tear gas into the crowd. Panic and a stampede ensued as fans tried to escape. After the incident, the Ghanian government established a special scholarship for children of the victims and also erected a memorial statue at the stadium, which has since been renamed Ohene Djan Stadium. This remains the worst stadium disaster to have ever taken place in Africa.

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