Ahead of Saturday’s late kick off in Ghana Premier League, the discussions have swayed entirely from tactics and formations to how well the referees, especially the one in centre, will fare?
After one year, ten months and eight days (678 days in total), referee Charles Bulu makes a return to Baba Yara Sports Stadium as Asante Kotoko welcome Techiman Eleven Wonders on Saturday evening in matchday four of Ghana Premier League. However, reports are rife that a section of Kotoko’s supporters are skeptical of how well Bulu will perform since the last memories of him are somethings they would hope to quickly forget.
On January 13, 2020, Charles Bulu was appointed to officiate the game against between Kotoko and Berekum Chelsea but things went north after the game since the home supporters protested as their side lost 1-0 thanks to Kofi Owusu’s lone effort.
With Kotoko already down by a goal, their troubles moved from bad to worse after Bulu showed defender Empem Dacosta his marching orders. The referee gave the centre-back a yellow card for a rush tackle on Stephen Amankonah which means that that was his second booking of the day.
However, television replays suggested that Bulu got it wrong because it was Kwame Adom Frimpong who had committed the foul. Although, Kotoko players, technical team and supporters protested for several minutes, the referee was not ready to hear them out and didn’t reverse the decision.
That meant that Kotoko had to finish the game with numerical disadvantage and this got the fans infuriated after final whistle. The police and other security officers around tried to shield referee Charles Bulu and his assistants from the angry fans who were unsatisfied by their performance.
In the process, a gunshot was fired by one policeman and it badly injured one fan who was later identified as Augustine Oppong. The bullet hit the left eye of the Oppong and he had to be rushed to the Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. He later lost the eye after surgery since it was badly hurt.
Kotoko then registered displeasure on the shooting incident which marred the fixture.
“We are appalled by the events that characterised the club’s matchday three fixture against Berekum Chelsea on Sunday 12th January 2020 at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in the 2019/20 Ghana Premier League,” Kotoko wrote in a statement on Monday.
“Hooliganism is one thing no professional football club wants to be associated with and we at Asante Kotoko SC will not endorse any such thing. We are saddened that, the reaction of some of the disappointed fans after the match led to responsible developments including the shooting and injury of an innocent supporter.
“While we vehemently condemn the conduct of any unruly fan, we find it difficult to accept the behaviour of the Police officer who allegedly shot a fan. We maintain our abhorrence for hooliganism. Violence cannot be part of the game. We will not give excuses for what happened. We however compelled to state our displeasure with the shooting incident.
“We will liaise with the Ghana Police Service to bring the matter to appropriate conclusion while we continue to seek medical attention for our injured fan. We appeal to our supporters to remain calm and note that, no matter the circumstance, exercising restraint is always a good option.
“Management will team up with the Ghana Football Association and other stakeholders of the game to ensure that, discipline and decency are brought to our venue all the time.”
Now, Bulu has the chance to prove his worth to all stakeholders in the country’s football.
Meanwhile, Techiman Eleven Wonders captain Kwayie Simms has claimed that they have been at the wrong side of officiating whenever they face Asante Kotoko in Ghana Premier League.
The defender is also calling on referee Charles Bulu to officiate the game fairly so that the best side will emerge as winners.
“We have played Kotoko in Kumasi on three occasions. They’ve beaten us in all these games” Simms told Ashh FM in an interview.
“But if you watched those games, we suffered bad officiating. In all the two games it didn’t end well for us. In those games, the referees did everything to ensure that Kotoko will win the day and it is quite frustrating.
“But the other victory they had was a clean one. Aside that one, the other two games we were hard done by the referees and I hope this weekend’s fixture will be quiet different,” he added .
Kotoko are topping the log with nine points after winning their first three games while Wonders are yet to pick a win in all the games played so far.