Former Chairman of Asante Kotoko, Herbert Mensah, has indicated the May 9 incident that claimed the lives of over 126 football fans at the Accra Sports Stadium in 2001 can never be forgotten.

In a statement to mark the 23rd anniversary of Africa’s biggest spotting disaster, Herbert Mensah said, “Having been there and been involved in all that happened has changed my life and I believe it has changed the lives of all those who were and have been closely involved.”

Below is the full statement by Herbert Mensah;

May 9th is back again. It’s a time I’ve tried to make sure that Ghanaians do not forget the symbolism of this date. Yes, 126 plus people died, actually a lot more than that, and we’ve tried to remember, and as we say, our prayers for the families, we also celebrate life.

The children of those who survived who have grown up, many of whom I am very close with. On a regular basis, I communicate with Rani in Accra, who is symbolic of so much. She lost her husband when she was barely out of her teens …. she has now brought up a lovely son. Nehemiah, out of Kumasi, who we meet all the time and to see him graduate and now have a degree in finance, is gratifying.

I’m hoping that we can help him find a job soon! There are many, many others. It is quite a time, and May 9th has teamed up over the last few years with organisations like Deso who help the disabled.

We’ve been involved in trying to save the lives of children who had drank caustic soda while their mothers were trying to make a living in soap manufacturing.

The flood victims like Alex and his son, who lost their beloved wife and mother at the time of the horrendous floods, represent others who have joined us and continue to do so every May 9th.

Last year, and this year, we’ve teamed up directly with the Shen Yang and Shen Yuet Children’s Heart Foundation, of which I’m the Secretary, a Foundation catering for the surgeries of children with Hole in Heart conditions.

The extraordinary family of my senior brother behind it, as I will call him, YC, an extraordinary man from China, who has invested so much in Ghana.

To date, some 30 going on for 35 children have, within a 15-month period, had here in Ghana surgical operations at Korle Bu under the guidance of Dr. Entsua-Mensah and his team to save lives.

We also remember the young ones who didn’t make it due maybe to our timing or their other underlying health problems like the young Hanifs of this world, yet we thank God and remember all of the others who survived and now have a better and stronger chance at life.

I’m looking forward to walking with the likes of Angela, a young girl from Kumasi who has survived and is stronger from the operation from the Hole in Heart team.

The twins in Accra, the Kezias, the Yasirs, the Nathaniels, the Bernards, the Fatimas, and all the rest of them who have benefited.

So, May 9th is out there to celebrate, Celebrate life.

To remember those who have passed…. Nothing will ever eradicate the horrors of that night.

I still meet people as I fly around the world, one or two who had families and friends who were involved and had lost their lives, one or two who actually were there and reminded me that as we carried the dead bodies that fateful day they were also involved in the process and they say enough for me to understand it happened and it was real and that they were there so we must not forget and I definitely will not forget.

Needless to say; we would not be able to do this without the support of the organizations. YC’s own organization, the Sunda Group, has been at the forefront of support of which we thank him. Kwabena Kesse in Kumasi always provides us with some rooms and a small token, which we are very, very grateful for.

My dear brother at Interplast, the great Hayssam Fakhre stands out tallest ever since we started the May 9 movement.

His unwavering support has been unique, and I and all Ghanaians he has touched are humbled. I do not forget the unique support of my “Son”, Sachin, who for the last five years or so, has individually helped support our cause.

Herbert Mensah was the board chairman of Ghana’s most successful football club, Asante Kotoko, when the May 9th Stadium disaster occurred.

Source: Ghana/ Yamoah