The University of Ghana soccer League commences on the 3rd of September 2019, and opinions are widely divided as to whether the Commonwealth hall will have their two-year ban lifted. The Vandals are have expressed dissatisfaction at the nature of punishment meted out to them, but the big question still remains; have the big boys from the Hill learnt their lessons? Many football experts on campus believe that the omission of the powerhouse has narrowed the title race to a Mensah Sarbah-Akuafo Hall showdown and frankly, the come back of a third force will surely add some spice to the University of Ghana Football League. For us, the only concern is, Was the Univerity of Ghana Sports Directorate Justified? We take a journey down memory lane as we recall the events that led to the ban and how they transpired.
It is a Thursday. The clouds had just subsided, the sun had announced its pressure briefly, before the tension-packed University of Ghana Ayax 2 park. The Poses and Handshakes did not matter much as the outcome would.
The Commonwealth Hall soccer team needed a win to progress to the semi-Finals, but so did the James Topp Nelson Yankah Hall. The vandals had missed out the previous season and were coming in as injured Lions.
Few minutes to the start of the game, the Spirited Commonwealth fans had appeared in their numbers and surrounded the perimeter of the park in their colorful wine Lacoste with the inscription ‘Vandals’ boldly embroidered behind their T-Shirts.
Spontaneously, chanting and the singing emanated from the Vandal spectators who had already set the mood for victory.
Nothing but Victory would appease the Boys from the Hill especially when they had been a preview to the news that their Rivals from Mensah Sarbah, “the Okpomates” had qualified to the Knockout stage.
The fear ravaged T.F fans had coiled themselves to one corner of the park as if they did not exist and they had lost all the vigor and exciting intentions they came to the game with.
The T.F fans had a sole mandate: to spur their team to victory, but they had failed even from the start.
Dumbfounded at the numbers of their opponents; they were struck with silence and composed themselves in all soberness till the game began.
Some occasionally would force a smile but frankly, those smiles were not natural. What was about to happen was not rehearsed, it was not expected. One would have thought the game was more important than anything else.
So the game commenced with both teams very aware that they had a good chance of qualifying. Fifteen minutes into the game, the Goalkeeper of James Topp Nelson Yankah Hall had received a knock. A nasty clash with a Commonwealth player in a fierce aerial duel ruled the shot-stopper him out of the game.
The unexpected injury had caused tempers to flare up. In response to the injury, Coach Elikem Avotri brought on the second Goalkeeper for James Topp Nelson hall. But few moments later, the Vandals got a goal.
The fans were now on a rampage. The Park began to shake. The plan for Commonwealth fans was to tease and intimidate their opponents; both players and fans in order to see the game through.
But anxiety began to engulf the playing body of both sides. Even the Vandals players were affected.
The James Topp Nelson Yankah hall was beginning to push for an equalizer and there were already signs that security presence was needed.
The Men in Green, the Security Marshalls of the University of Ghana were present, but that could not quench the anxiety and tension.
The most devastating thing was about to happen.
The Vandals were in the lead, but the game was not over.
In the heat of the game, an obnoxious challenge caused tempers on the James Topp Nelson team to flare up, but the reaction of the goalkeeper was scary.
He rushed to the scene to push a Commonwealth player away, and that’s where everything went bad.
The Gloves man was attacked by some section of Vandals. The big boys from the hill had forgotten they were a few minutes away from qualification.
They were culprits of a similar incident the previous year against the Alex Kwapong Hall side, but they had escaped suspension following the signing of a bond of good behavior.
What a scandal! After all who started this?, the Goalkeeper did!
It was there the game ended with the puny man getting a good beating.
He was surrounded by a great number of ‘wine-shirted’ men as if they were monks going to perform a prayer ritual, but this time he was blessed with slaps and kicks and maybe sticks.
The match officials called for the halt of the game, and James Topp Nelson Yankah Hall was protesting and threatening to walk off if the police were not brought in.
After a while, the Vandals had returned to their base in the stands, but they were in big trouble.
The Goalkeeper was carried to a saloon car amidst his wailing and tears.
The Coaches said they were sending him for treatment.
I stood at the scene in disbelief, looking around so as to spot other emergency exists to save myself if necessary but that did not matter everything happened with the speed of lightning.
“We do not endorse anything that happened. We will refer the issue to the disciplinary committee and look at the issue, and then we will make a decision,” Coach Nii Sackey of the University of Ghana Sports Directorate commented after the incident.
And so the decision was taken, and The James Topp Nelson soccer team was favored.
The unfortunate incident had led them to qualify to the semi-final.
The T.F team went on to beat Legon Hall but lost to hard-hitting Mensah Sarbah Hall in the final.
So that was how the Commonwealth hall soccer team was slapped with a two-Year Ban.
A hall that had always been the hub of footballing talents had caused noble sons who were eager to make an impression quality opportunity.
After one year of serving a ban, the directorate is eager to ensure that the Vandals pay fully for the mess.
Dr. Bella Bello Bitugu hinted on Radio Univers’ Sports Corner that the Vandal may as well serve the full ban as an institutional requirement, and until the disciplinary committee of the University of Ghana Football League sits to consider Commonwealth’s appeal, the big boys remain suspended.
Story by: Dampte-Larbi Godfred|Univers Sports|universnewsroom.com