Business in Ghana

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World Cup Diary 7

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 26, 2014

From Kwasi Gyan Appenteng

Faith versus realism in a high stakes game

I have been warned by my friends Akos and Yaa not to be pessimistic, or as they put it, “realistic”. Akos is insistent that this is not the time for realism. She even went as far as accuse me of mocking faith. What is my crime? It is like this: I believe that the Black Stars will probably play their final World Cup match today because …I do not believe that one point from two matches, and eventually four from three at the World Cup is good enough to take us into the knockout phase. I know it has been done before, but facing Portugal in this kind of situation must be sufficient grounds for dog-faced pessimism.

Let me explain this before I am sent to some kind of national inquisition that I don’t want the Black Stars to win. I want our team to win. There are many reasons for this. After rushing three million cedis by special arrangement to the players it would be such an anti-climax if they returned home by the same plane that flew in the money. I want to believe that the money would act as the spur to fire them to glory. But my main reason for wanting a Black Star win is to bring joy to the land. 

I don’t like the look on Ghanaian faces these days. People don’t look as cheerful as they should in a middle income oil producing country, but that is another story. We need to lift up the country with a glorious heave-ho manufactured on the Brazilian playing fields. But I have an even more selfish reason for wanting a Black Stars win and I will share it here. I have a nice Ghana shirt which I have prepared for a celebration since the start of the tournament. It is the one with the big clack star in front. It has been washed and pressed and handing on a metal hanger waiting for action. Can anything look more forlorn that an unworn Black Stars shirt?

So this the plan: as I have said many times before if the Black Stars win today (note: I said if not when) I will hotfoot it to Osu and dance until my shoes wear off or I get older, whichever comes first. I have even prepared the moves for the evening in that event. So make no mistake, I want the Black Stars to win.

However, and I must be, er, realistic. The chance of beating Portugal and qualifying is not great. All it needs is for Germany and the USA to draw and it will be curtains for Ghana. I don’t need to belabor the point because 25 million mathematicians have done the sums and told us the numbers. However knowing and doing are two different activities, sometimes separated by a sea called Ability.

We left ourselves in a bad position with that loss to the USA but we have redeemed our football in with our sterling display against the German machine. It is that display that has got us so fired and unwilling to countenance defeat in any way, shape or form. It is also a fact that the in tournaments the Black Stars get better as they progress and the two matches so far have followed that pattern. So, we must not give up.

The other factor is that this World Cup is a crazy place. Who would have thought the second best World Cup nation, Italy, would exit in the first phase, but it has happened. England and the reigning champion Spain are also out. There is no team too big not to fall. The hope here is that the two German coaches of the USA and Germany will know the risks involved in playing hanky-panky. However, in this instance all it needs is for the two teams to draw and they are in. It must look rather tempting to them.

Talking about craziness it doesn’t come crazier than a man called Luiz Suarez and his biting antics. Suarez has had a curse following him since he did his “hand of the devil” business on us in South Africa in 2010. Incidentally, I said last Tuesday – just before Suarez did his thing that I was beginning to despair of our juju people; they must have been working quietly in the background against the man!

As at this writing FIFA is investigating and it is possible that as you read this Diary Mr. Suarez could be on his way to Liverpool or wherever biters are accepted as normal.

Perhaps Mr. Suarez’s troubles must be another signal that we are on a roll. As Napoleon said, never interrupt your enemy when he is a mistake, and so it has been with Mr. Suarez over the past four years. I have not forgiven him for denying me one last Dance at Osu four years ago. His downfall will probably be the extra cause for celebrating a special night tonight.

There are many reasons not to be realistic and I do not intend to suffer from that malaise until the final whistle.

Allez Ghana.

One Response to “World Cup Diary 7”

  1. Many thanks, Wofa Kwasi, whether you are an Afro-Pessimist or an Afro-Optimist!

    However, it is a “Do or Die” situation for all of us, but my hope (as an Afro-Optimist like dear Sisters Akos and Yaa) is for Ghana’s Black Stars to triumph in a big way. You may ask, “How?” My quick response is simply this: well, for Portugal’s goalkeeper to become temporarily blind in the game so that the Black Stars (the future “Golden Stars” of Ghana) can win by such a wide margin, even on goal-aggregate, that our Stars can enter the knock-out stage! Am I being overly optimistic?

    As my Yoruba friends would exclaim: “Na waa oo”!

    A.B. Assensoh, Eugene, Oregon, USA

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