Business in Ghana

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World Cup Diary 4

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 21, 2014

From Kwasi Gyan Appenteng


………as Spain’s exit gives us hope

Spare a thought for Spain. The European and World champions are the first reigning kings of world football to go out of the tournament so ignominiously. They lost both their opening matches with a collection of seven balls from their own net. In some ways their two nil defeat to Chile which effectively sealed their exit warrant must be more painful than the earlier five goals to one drubbing at the hands of the Dutch. At least, there was light at the end of the tunnel after the first match; Wednesday’s defeat meant lights out for Spain whose King Juan Carlos signed his own abdication warrant earlier that day in the national Parliament in Madrid.

One almost feels Spain’s pain; almost, but not quite because by some strange logic, Spain’s loss gives Ghana a glimmer of hope. This is how the roundabout logic works: this World Cup has been full of surprises. Apart from the fall of Spain, Brazil’s lucky draw against Mexico and Australia’s valiant loss by 2-3 to the Netherlands are part of the narrative of surprise which is becoming a dominant motif of the tournament.

Thus, the thinking is that since the mighty are falling, so to speak, why should Ghanaians not dare hope that Germany will fall and add to the story of uncertainty and levelling that is taking place in Brazil. Indeed, much as I hate to remind us of our pain, I need to add that the victory of the US over the Black Stars is in some vicarious way part of the script that might yet take us to centre stage. By the way just to let you know how much the win over Ghana meant to the USA, the Wikipedia entry of John Brooks, the scorer of their second goal has been amended to read “the greatest American since Abraham Lincoln”!

As many Ghanaians see it, or wish to see it, Ghana will beat Germany because Chile has beaten Spain and Brazil struggled against Mexico while Holland was not too convincing against Australia. Honestly, this is clutching at straws but some straws are attached some deeply rooted trees. At least, we lose nothing by holding on to our dream.

But let us be realistic. The match against Germany is the last realistic hope to stake a claim to the knockout stage. I was not hopeful from the moment the draw put us in the company of Germany, Portugal and the USA. I know that in these febrile times pessimism is almost equated to being unpatriotic so one towed the official line which ran something like this: Ghana would beat the USA and draw with Germany or Portugal which could be enough depending on other results. The wilder fringes in our society even predicted three wins out of three for the Black Stars. There is no law against dreaming; not even daydreaming.

So, we are (or must be) optimistic that a miracle is about to unfold in Brazil. Given that there are more prophets in Ghana than in the Old Testament, I am surprised that we have not had a more definitive prediction about the result. A friend claims that she saw the Ghana defeat in a dream so I have advised her against dreaming or to wake up if she feels a dream coming about the German match. But dreams and nightmares aside, it is possible that the match against Germany could be our last meaningful engagement for Brazil 2014.

If that happens it would be sad not because of what we would have failed to achieve on the field but for the missed opportunity it represents in the broader world outside sports . We ought to have used our participation in the World Cup to strengthen our national unity, brand the nation in a specific way announce to the world that Ghana is open for business.

Fortunately, as the Akan proverb says, “it is bent but not broken is the king of all proverbs”. This means we should be happy to salvage the best we can from a seemingly hopeless situation. Let us the next 48 hours to send the strongest support for the team Let us wave the flag, show the colours and walk the talk. In any way we can let us show the red, gold and green.

As the World Cup 2010 song says in part:

Every nation, all around us

Singin’ forever young

Singin’ songs underneath the sun

Lets rejoice in the beautiful game

And together at the end of the day

We all say

When I get older I will be stronger

They’ll call me freedom Just like a wavin’ flag

Now wave your flag

Now wave your flag

5 Responses to “World Cup Diary 4”

  1. Kwasi, our “Miracle-Promoting” Commentator:

    Thank you very much for reminding us that there is something called a miracle, especially in sports!

    In human life that is why I keep on telling my teenage sons that, due to a miracle taking place, nobody should ever take me off a life-support machine. Then, my 18-year old, who is learning science very fast, asked: “Even when you are in a vegetative state?” I answered: “I will still hope for a miracle.”

    In order not to make these young sons feel that their “old man” fears death, I simply say that I learnt from my earlier Roman Catholic upbringing (as a teenager) that there is something called a “miracle”. Should we, then, dare pray for a 2-1 or 3-2 miraculous victory for the Black Stars in their impending World Cup football (soccer) match against Germany? Also, just as Redskins are thinking about a name change, should we dare think about one for the “Black Stars”, for the sake — this time — of seeking good luck or hope through a miracle with a new name like “Gold Stars” or “Diamond Stars”?

    A.B. Assensoh.


    (Ghana Black Stars’ Voice In My Ink)

    The clouds

    Are turbid and the future is hidden…

    Yet, we shall march on

    To the shores of our calling dream

    The threats

    Roar loudly in our ears…

    They scare our

    Feet and deter them from walking through the wilderness…

    Yet, we

    Shall not succumb to the tunes of fright—

    We are the

    Stars at whose feet darkness bow!

    We are

    The twinkling loded star of our earth

    Who shall fear

    Not the fights of giants and their kin—

    If we fell

    In the marvels of the tides to America

    Then, you

    Too shall taste the bitterness of a fall

    The ‘mighties’

    Are falling to the feet of their slaves—

    Slaves have found their feet

    And we too shall stand in this course of vengeance!

    We shall

    Slay the mountain in the Tyskland god

    And build a hill

    Of glory to honour the land of our birth

    Your ego

    Shall sublime in our presence—

    We shall

    Seize the crown that makes you lord over us

    We shall

    Recapture our sovereignty from your arms—

    The Tyskland god

    Shall today bow to our feet in a fall!

    We shall fight

    To the end to fetch honour for our motherland

    For we are the

    Stars at whose feet darkness bow!

    Surely, the clouds

    Are turbid and the future is hidden…

    Yet, we shall march on

    To the shores of our dream to fetch glory for our land

    NB: Tyskland = Scandinavian language for German

    Oswald George Okaitei

  3. Papa AB writes:

    “Also, just as Redskins are thinking about a name change, should we dare think about one for the “Black Stars”, for the sake — this time — of seeking good luck or hope through a miracle with a new name like “Gold Stars” or “Diamond Stars”?

    I said wow and pinched myself to make sure that I read you right. Yes, I think I got it right: the“Black” in Black Stars is synonymous with lacking “good luck”!

    I won’t address the Newtonian mechanics of gravity of which a black star is a part: I would deferto those who study space and gravity. Let me just say that Kwame Nkrumah’s nationalisticleap led him to conjure the name Black Stars for the national soccer team. Of course, black/ness has attained negative connotations to the extent that our phenotypic cue of “blackness” has become a manuscript that deals with negativizing. Besides, whether framed as a hyperbole, a denotation, or a figurative concept, black as in darkness or “bad” and stars designating light or “good” are contradictory, even antipodal in essence.

    Yes, Nkrumah understood all of the above contradictions and implications, yet symbolically named the national team Black Stars. His enduring message is not as complicated as Opanyin AB has posited. It has nothing to do with bad luck. Nkrumah wanted Ghanaians to be proud of their “blackness” with enduring convictions that we can be as “bright,” “dazzling,” etc. as the hallowed stars in the firmament. Nkrumah believed that postcolonial nation-building of change and renewal must include innovative symbolisms and unprecedented rituals of re/naming. Cradled in kente cloth and batakari smock, powerful symbols of Ghanaian culture, Nkrumah’s ideologies of cultural renaissance contributed to the incubation of popular ideologies of “African personality,” “Black is beautiful,”“I am Black and proud,” etc., indeed, the empowerment of peoples of African descent and the marginalized all over the globe. This is the epistemological site where we can locate the relevance of Black Stars, not in a crucible of bad luck.

    In sum, Native Americans’ quest to change the name of the Redskins and its logo juxtaposed with any effort to rename the Black Stars would remain miles apart. Simply put, the name Black Stars seeks to empower, while Redskins and its logo disempower even denigrate. If one examines the arc of Nkrumah’s revolutionary ambitions, Black Stars has nothing to do with seeking bad luck. Rather, it has much to do with nation-building defined by a journey of self-discovery and liberation from hegemonic ideologies.

    Kwabena Akurang-Parry

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