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Division One League Hooliganism in Ghana football

The ugly incidents of crowd violence have marred Ghana's lower division football, Muftawu Abdulai Nabila writes.

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Football is a passionate game. In Ghana, especially lower division, it is like saying cliff-walking is a dangerous one. At every level the passion transcends, but it is the most tribalistic in Ghana's lower tier. How many people do you know who can transform from run-of-the-mill Mr. Average to vein-through-the-head Mr. Angry, and all because of a contentious penalty decision?

The game brings to the surface emotions that don’t usually appear in everyday life, the anger, the venom, the vitriol, the bitterness, the greed, the elation, the relief. They are all extremities too. If a referee disallows a perfectly good goal, it’s as if he has burgled your shed. If your side secures a late winner, you act like it’s the birth of your first child. All conventional logic goes out of the window when football is involved. It’s a primal game.

  play A referee's shirt drenched with blood


Perhaps unsurprisingly then, it is also a game which has an undeniable link to violence.

When emotion and passion runs so close to the surface, and when people devote so much of their time to their chosen hobby, it is pretty obvious that somewhere along the line, lines will be crossed.

In Ghana, football hooliganism has been a major talking point not only for this season but only God knows when.

But this year, it has reached new levels of hysteria.

This is a topical issue at the moment in Ghana. A few week-ends ago during the Division League encounter between Elmina Sharks and Bibiani Gold Stars, trouble emerged and the visiting team and match officials and, even the media were beaten mercilessly.

  play Shirt of a matchday referee after an attack


The wanton disregard for human life and valuable property was a nasty reminder that May 9 disaster taught football fans nothing, and whilst the Ghana Football Association is policing hooliganism with all its might, the canker undoubtedly dances its way through the minds of fans for not even a minute.

The enemy to the growth of Ghana football lurks close by with aplomb, and human life in lower division is synonymous to cliff-walking. There were gunshots by the Police to separate rowdy fans who wanted to attack the referee after the final whistle in a GN Bank division one league game involving Tamale Utrecht and Berlin FC.

Coach of Tamale Utrecht Abdul Raheed suffered wounds to his left leg in the process and had to be rushed to the hospital.

  play Abdul Raheed's leg after an attack during a football game


Referee Sampson Azumah had his shirt washed in with his own blood and his head became an amoeba after he was assigned to a game involving King Solomon FC and Great Olympics.

The latest notoriety of the crowd violence hospitalized Kobina Amissah of Elmina Sharks after he guided his side to win against Proud United on Saturday. There are tonnes of this ugly incidence which has made Ghana football a walking corpse and the precious lives of Ghanaians threatened.

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