Thursday, June 22, 2006

Yay, Ghana oh, Yay, Ghana oh, Yay'yay!

This is now the familiar cry of victorious Ghanaians the world over. They occupied just a small part of the grounds, but the rhythms sent shockwaves through the ground, into the distance. Vesuvius has nothing on Ghanaian fans. Ambrosia dancing, gyration of the gods, trance-like response to a spherical leather thing crossing a white painted line. Who needs syringes of adrenalin when you have goals. "Bring on Brazil, bring on Brazil", they chanted fearlessly.

The Americans had just the one unimaginative cry, "USA, USA". And when the referee gave Ghana the penalty, "bullshit" they bellowed. The Black Stars of Ghana shone bright. The star spangled USA were Black Star struck. This was a historic win for Ghana, like when David's sling and rock felled the mighty Goliath. I heard that Lagos was in a frenzy, imagine what Accra, Kumasi, and Cape Coast would have been like - ablaze with ecstasy.

In retrospect, I'm slightly ashamed of my behaviour. I couldn't cage my glee at Ghana's victory. Impartiality was defenestrated. People kept coming up to me and congratulating me. Kofi might be a name given to me by an over-enthusiastic father, I might know Kokrobite, and might have once had a haircut in Kumasi, but I'm still not Ghanaian. The top I had on certainly didn't help. The day after the Twin Towers tragedy, Le Monde ran a piece with the header: "We are all Americans". That solidarity was in a time of tragedy, but today our solidarity is held in unfettered joy. Today, we are all Ghanaians.

The usually shy Michael Essien even had time to talk to us. The self belief was palpable, one could almost touch it. Ransford Abbey, an eloquent spokesman of the Ghanaian FA was proud of the GFA's achievement. Simple formulae: people who understand the modern game, long-term planning, reducing reliance on the sports ministry. Nigeria, are you listening?

"You'’re working for Nigerian television? But Nigeria isn'’t here, what happened to you guys? You should be here!" If I had a euro for every time someone said this to me, I'd be dining with Gates and Branson, having tea with Her Majesty, turning left when boarding a plane rather than right. In other words, I'd be rich - I've heard it too many times for comfort.

The experts here will tell you that Nigeria should have learned her lesson, and will surely qualify next time. My greatest and most plausible fear is that she hasn'’t. Right now, the country has no FA. Nigeria will sleepwalk into qualification for the major tournaments before South Africa in 2010. As usual, they'll be favourites, and and as usual they'’ll come third (which many feel should be patented to Nigeria). When they should have been giving the players practice (like Cameroon and Senegal) by playing pre-World Cup friendlies, the FA and Sports ministry were squabbling.

Saidu Sambawa is a twit, and I'd like to be quoted on that. He had to leave his post as Sports Minister earlier this month, and it'’s because of his interference that FIFA threatened to suspend NFA. Good riddance. I only hope his sucessor doesn'’t continue the nonsense tradition of bribing journalists. Okay, it'’s not blatantly a bribe, but stop giving journos money. And journos, stop taking money, broke though you are.

But on to more pleasant thoughts. In the 1920s and 1930s, Hitler held rallies in Nuremberg, a clarion call for the National Socialist cause. In 2006, about a mile from where the original rallies were held, a Black nation triumphs against the odds. Hitler must be turning in his grave. Let's hope he keeps turning. We are all Ghanaian now.

Above, Ghana fans after scoring: Highlife/hiplife and any other life versus Samba and Joga Bonito.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this report.

culturalmiscellany said...

Me too, very enjoyable report. I didn't know you'd been to Kokrobite, I think we should talk more, I love that beach!! Anyway, have fun. I am very jealous - lol

Anonymous said...

You would have been carpeted if this blog had not been updated on the victory of Ghana.

Thanks for this report and I do sure hope Nigeria has learnt their lesson, from the interference to the need for players to realise that it is a privilege to play for Nigeria.

Well, we all Ghanaian now and even Nigerians can recognise that nothing succeeds like good success in football.

Go Ghana, Go!

ayoke said...

Ha, Akin! "we all Ghanaian now"?

Me, I've always been Ghanaian! :)

Anonymous said...

if Nigerian football was organised and forward thinking, who would we blame when we do inevitably fall flat on our faces?