They say when life throws lemons at you, try to make lemonade.
However, it’s doubtful that Awal Suleman, the 25-year-old student of nursing who has gained national prominence since his antics on Thursday threw him into the spotlight, feels that way.
His friends call him ‘London’, and he’s a student at the Nalerigu College of Nursing in the Northern Region. Before Ghana played in their first qualifer for the 2021 AFCON qualifiers at the Cape Coast Stadium, Awal had challenged his friends to a dare: if the Black Stars won 2-0, he would do something outrageous.
And he did, jumping onto the pitch and showing his running prowess – he was a former 400m athlete at the Apam Senior High School – by outrunning Police and Fire Service officers giving him the chase.
He told Joy News that he missed opportunities to take a photograph with Partey when the Black Stars team made stops through the Cape Coast township before the match. “All I wanted was a selfie.”
Eventually, he was caught, and he spent the night in the grips of the University of Cape Coast police. JoyNews reporter Richard Kojo Nyarko spoke to the Central Regional Police Commander, Paul Awini, who insisted that making an example of Awal will serve as a deterrent to others.
The pitch invader will be processed for court on Monday.
Social media reactions have been split.
Some believe the authorities are right in preparing the young man for court…
Kofi Appianti, in reaction to our posts on Facebook, says: “Why don't we allow the Police to do their work concerning this issue..... Same people will bash the Police if they had done otherwise..... Allow our institutions to work, just because you got yourself some data so you can go to any page and write anything you want.... Allow the Police to deal with this issue”
Latif Giwah (Facebook) says: “We all love Partey, should we all jump onto the field of play because we want a photo opportunity with him?”
Jonathan Haizel (Facebook) also offers: “A university student should have known that somebody was Jailed for invading World Cup match in Russia and Ghana can be fined for this, our authorities should fine him to serve as deterent to others”
Edward Ayenor Addo (Facebook): “What is wrong is wrong. He could have put the players lives in jeopardy.”
Prince Adarkwah-Nyamekyeh (Facebook) says: “We are asking the police so many questions about his arrest, what would we have said if he had attacked any of the players or the officials on the field? Let say the over 20,000 Spectators decide to also follow the same manner he took to the field would we have finished the game the way it ended? Let the laws of the land work.”
Others believe Awal simply added some fun to the evening, and must be let go…
Maxwell Langbong (Facebook): “Am very sad to call myself a Ghanaian for how Ghana police is handling this issue. This guy gave us joyous, wonderful, amazing athleticism and act of sportsmanship to put smile on our face for that long awaited football game we never had ,just to hear his going to face the law for this act of sportsmanship. Even in Europe they do give medals to such act of sportsmanship and example is the Uefa champion league final between Liverpool and Tottenham...”
Jacob Kpedudo (Facebook): “You said ‘Bring Back The Love’ and the love has come to the extent that he did not know how to control it. Therefore, he decided to go according to what the president of the Republic of Ghana once said: ‘Be a citizen not a spectator’. He did not want to be only a spectator but a citizen by demonstrating his love for the stars, to the whole world and Ghanaians on the pitch yesterday. So I find no fault in this. He should just be whipped, warned or fined for his impromptu exposure.”
Felix Addae (Facebook) says: “I think the police and our courts have better issues to deal with. He was just a passionate supporter.”
Julius Senyo (Facebook) says: “I think his action yesterday was not good but Cape Coast Police, there are enough criminal cases in Cape Coast which need to be taken to court for action to be taking. For keeping him in custody from yesterday up to today is enough punishment.”
Read the reactions here: