Asantehene marks 71st birthday with May 9 remembrance

It’s been 20 years since Ghana suffered the shock of a soccer stadium stampede that led to the deaths of over 120 Ghanaian soccer fans at the Accra sports stadium on May 9, 2001.

This happened during a highly competitive league game between the two most perpetual soccer rivals in Ghana.

The historically disastrous incident of that day remains one of the most regrettable tragic events that must be prevented from repeating itself in Ghana. But to prevent it, Ghanaians cannot forget it.

This is the guiding principle behind the founding of the May 9, Foundation championed by Herbert Mensah since 2001 to make sure that Ghana never forgets the May 9 stadium disaster.

Besides, the families of the victims of the disaster have also been of concern to the May 9 Foundation, which has provided material support as well as empathy and consolation over the past 20 years.

As the life patron of Kumasi Asante Kotoko football club, one of the teams involved in the historic incident, the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has supported and taken part in every yearly activities to support the memories of the victims and the livelihoods of the families left behind by the gory incident.

Herbert Mensah was chairman of Asante Kotoko FC during the disaster and is the champion of the yearly national remembrance and charity activities for the past 20 years.

Mr Mensah founded the May 9 Charity Foundation to provide, empathy and material support where possible to families of the victims of the stadium disaster and to engage in public advocacy for proper football administration and safety standards in our soccer stadia.

The 20th anniversary of the May 9, stadium disaster in Ghana coincides with the 71st birthday celebrations of the King of Asante who welcomed Herbert Mensah and his team of supporters, organizers, families of victims and sponsors to the Manhyia Palace.

This was to jointly embrace the historic day and remind Ghanaians of the need to do everything possible to avoid a repeat of that dreadful sports history in Ghana.

Asantehene Osei Tutu II took time to publicly view pictures stories presented by Herbert Mensah in a photo book that captures the memories of the event and the charity activities of the May 9 Foundation for the past 20 years.

My team and I are elated and humbled to share the special day with Otumfuo my father’’ Herbert Mensah wrote of his audience with the King.

He and his May 9 Foundation and its sponsors also presented assorted gifts to the Asante King on his 71st-anniversary celebrations.