Football: Deception, Voodoo, Asphyxia and a fired coach

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Doctors have blamed the death of the four people at a football match between Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak in Kumasi, on extreme heat, congestion and fatigue. The stadium held 40,000 people that Sunday.

Despite the medical explanations given, some superstitious football supporters in Ghana have wondered why the fixture between both teams seldom resulted in deaths.

Some people were quick to accuse the opposing fans of Vodoo practice when quizzed about the mishap. “You never know, people could go as far as showing their rivalry by means of vodoo, to hurt other people,” Joseph Osei, an Asante Kotoko supporter said.

While some people have suspected voodoo and black power, the Ghana Football Association says that the four fans died of asphyxia. Fans had gathered early in the morning for the meeting of the country’s greatest rivals, many hours before kick-off.

People were said to have collapsed in the heat at the Baba Yara Stadium. Sections of the crowd were sprayed with water to try and cool people down, and medical officers were called in to treat numerous cases of heat exhaustion.

The game ended in a defeat to Asante Kotoko and the club reacted by sacking their Belgian coach Maurice Cooreman. Opeele Boateng assistant coach to Cooreman will now take charge of the club as caretaker coach.

Cooreman had signed from Enyimba football club of Nigeria following his successes with the Nigerian outfit. His departure from Asente Kotoko is said to have been of mutual consent. It was Asante Kotoko’s first loss at home to Hearts in 10 years.

In 2001 the fixture in Accra left 127 dead after a crowd stampede.

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