Accra to host Ghana-Malawi match

Experts have declared the Accra Sports Stadium is safe to host the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Ghana and Malawi on 8 September.While the Architectural and Engineering Services Limited (AESL) said it was "concerned" at the high level of rust on various sections of the stadium, including the roof, it attributed this to the stadium's proximity to the sea. Granting the building a clean bill of health, the AESL insisted that the venue is safe to host the upcoming Ghana-Malawi match as well as subsequent games. The body said there was "nothing to worry about" and disregarded recent claims by the board chairman of the National Sports Authority (NSA), Kojo Bonsu that the stadium was a "death trap".

The comments by Bonsu gave rise to concerns that the national stadium would have to forfeit the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, and led to the stadium's safety being assessed by technical experts. The AESL advised steel blasting and the re-painting of the entire structure, and said that regular maintenance would have prevented the stadium from falling into disrepair. Built in the 1960s, the 40,000-capacity arena underwent renovation prior to hosting the final of the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, and was re-inaugurated by former president John Agyekum Kufour in October 2007.

The venue was the scene of the worst stadium disaster to ever occur in Africa, after Asante Kotoko beat Accra Hearts of Oak 2-1 on 9 May 2001. When disappointed fans began rioting, police responded with tear gas and in the ensuing panic, 127 people were killed in a stampede. The anniversary of the tragedy is marked annually by football fans in Ghana.

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