Monday, June 14, 2010



So after a lacklustre start from the African teams the Black Stars fought hard to deliver to this continent her first win at the first World Cup to be held on her soil. Asamoah Gyan’s 85th minute penalty ensured Ghana took maximum points to the board and save a little face for the whole of Africa. A feeling deeply expressed by Asamoah Gyan's declaration. With the whole world looking on as South Africa hosted the Cup, a lot was expected of the African teams that represented the continent, with one of the them expected to at least make the semi-finals. And Ghana rekindled that hope with a win on Sunday.

The match itself was lovely to behold, with both teams intent on going forward. With the Serbians fielding their best eleven, the Black Stars looked a tad the underdog with her young albeit determined and skilful squad, and the likes of Appiah and Muntari on the bench. In the end however, the young men of Ghana displayed great ability on the ball and made life a little bit easier for themselves and the hearts of the entire nation in their second consecutive appearance at the World Cup.

But the thing that’s got me feeling all proud and more patriotic( if that’s possible) this wet Monday morning, is the leadership tendency of this country when everyone else seems unable to rise up to the task. Being the first Black African country to gain independence, we carry an unofficial tag of responsibility to set the pace for the rest of the continent to follow. And on more than a few occasions we have shown ourselves more than able to rise up to the task both politically and in sports. It wasn’t a year ago that the Under 20’s won the world cup held in Egypt for the first time. Also the first for any African side. Pace-setting is what this country seems to do best. In the last World Cup held in Germany, Ghana once again asserted her reputation by becoming the only country from the continent to progress to the second round of the competition. Ghana was the first nation from Africa to qualify for this World Cup, and on Sunday they proved why. And that’s just in the area of sports. Politically we do more than our share, setting examples in the area of democracy and good governance. Obama’s visit says it all. Not to drag on for long, the Black Stars have done themselves and the continent a favour, lets hope and pray that the rest of the African teams follow suit.         

Friday, June 4, 2010

Caught Up In The Fever

This past week has been hectic, to say the least. In the last few days, especially, I have been mighty occupied with work. A lot of work. I’ve been upping the ante on my schedule to try to beat a deadline and also get the momentum going on my debut novel, before I’m completely immersed in the euphoria that is fast beginning to hit the country and continent as a whole, thanks solely, to the approaching World Cup in South Africa. Africa’s first World Cup, of course. Being a huge lover of football( and I say huge in a euphemistic sense, with obsessive the true word here) it is highly unlikely that I would get enough work done over the full month the tournament would span, seeing as I wouldn’t miss this most historic event for anything. That’s why I’ve been staying up late and getting up earlier than usual in an effort to get as much work done as I possibly can.

But on Wednesday night I couldn’t help but put a couple of things on hold to sit in front of the TV to watch the Ghana Black Stars play Holland in the first of two friendly matches scheduled in preparation for the World Cup. I had to see the game because like every football-loving Ghanaian, the Black Stars live in any football game is one for the archives and not to be missed. Add to that the need to satisfy the curiosity surrounding the shape and form of a team bereft of one or two key players in the run-up to the World Cup and you have a solid excuse. In the end, however, it was precious time wasted, as I sat through ninety minutes of agony with a visibly deep frown on my forehead and my head slovenly rested in the palm of my hand. The Stars rather too friendly for the tag of the match, going down by four goals to one to a Dutch side that didn’t even playing to their full potential. And there has been several reasons given for the poor showing: precaution against injury the major one. Whatever it is I pray the Stars see the need to perform well in this Africa’s first World Cup, as we continue to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the number one Pan-Africanist.

Because whether we like it or not, more than half the world is waiting with baited breaths, poised to jump in for the kill should anything negative, no matter how minute it might be, happen in South Africa in the course of the tournament. Over the years this continent has been dubbed “dark” by the West, producing nothing good besides its natural resources and unable to take care of its own, much less the whole world. The sad truth is, the big picture always seems to reflect that tag, with wars and conflicts the major headline heading out of the continent. So it shouldn’t be surprising if the rest of the world is a bit apprehensive about heading out to the “dark” continent to play in the World Cup. All we can do is hope and pray that the better developed SA will make the continent proud and prove to the world and ourselves that we’re gradually moving away from the tag of “dark” continent. So good luck to all the teams participating, but more so to the African teams. May your youthful exuberance make us proud.