Saturday, January 28, 2012

Passion in Ghana

The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.

Saturday about 7:30 pm, on main street in the village where I live. These residents are not waiting to get into a club, but are watching football (soccer) at a small kiosk that sells small house hold items and has a TV. It is the Ghana National Team's second match in the first round of the African Cup. They defeated Botswana last weekend and are playing Mali this evening. The Ghana Black Stars are one of the favorites to win the Cup.

I have not seen or experienced anything else in Ghana that reaches even near the level of passion that football does. Any object that is even a little round quickly becomes the ball by the young children and the match is on. Work stops and a crowd gathers to watch the Primary and Junior High school teams compete.

The school where I teach has a team which is ranked in the upper quarter of the teams in the local Junior High School league. They practice and sometimes compete on a field that is uneven, half dirt and half grass, full of stones and goat droppings, the school porch sitting on one inbound line, and a old tree stump just to the left of one goal. The game is fast, straight ahead and physical. Players must strap everything on tight and bring their "black and blue" game in order to compete. They are "all in" and cannot wait to get the game going. Spectators are no less involved and disputed calls often result in a large number of fans on the pitch pointing fingers, yelling loudly, often not even involving the single referee attempting to control the match. I attended the soccer games my three children played, but they were not even close to this level of intensity.

I am rooting for the Black Stars and it would be a neat experience to celebrate winning the Cup with the Ghanians. The village just erupted in cheers as the Stars scored their second goal in the match.

I will also have the opportunity to be a witness to the election of a President of Ghana this coming December. Listening to the morning talk shows with the other teachers, it seems the campaign has begun and like the campaigns in the USA, will be competitive and full of passionate debate on the issues.

Interesting times in my village and in the country of Ghana.

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