Monday, July 17, 2006

Ghana dances in the streets; Brazil mourns..

Its been a few days since the Black Stars of Ghana lost tragically (3 – 0) to the Brazilians, offside goals, Ronaldo’s jersey, and all. Eliminated from the top 16, they made their way home. The Black Stars are currently in a special reception with President Kufuour and Vice President Aliu Mahama, where they are being decorated with special medals.
John “The Rock of Gibraltar” Mensah, captain Stephen “Tornado” Appiah, and the rest of the gang receive special sashes and medals while the president congratulates them on being ‘gallant warriors’ and ‘uniting Ghana like never before’. Smiles, handshakes all around.
A sedate celebration compared to the one that greeted them in Accra when they got off the aeroplane; champagne and riotous colours and dancing in the streets: huge crowds of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, school children, grandmas, babies, dogs…. Everybody came to greet our heroes.
“They have done well, they have done well..” rang everywhere. Because, truly they did play their hearts out, beating the FIFA ranked #4, and #2 teams effortlessly and being voted the best midfielders at the World Cup.

GTV news at night, after the regular Ghanaian news, shows some clips from around the world. Usually it is serious politics like the annual meeting of the African Union, the indictment of the ex-President of Chad for heinous crimes at the International Criminal Court, earthquakes in Indonesia. Tonight, the last clip they showed was that of Brazil as their football team made their way home, after losing to France in the group of 8 matches. Crying; weeping in the streets – old ladies, women, children, fathers, - pretty much the same bunch of everyone as the Ghanaians, minus the dogs. Nobody greeted them (except family) as they walked off the plane and the whole atmosphere was somber and disappointed and unenthused in the most. As if the president had been shot and they were carrying his body on the aeroplane or something. Seriously, if you showed that clip to someone and asked them to guess what caused the weeping, they would have suggested some scenario of the like. Not a football loss.

And that is Ghana for you. In a nutshell that is the mentality of the people; resilient, proud, brave, and endlessly optimistic. While we’re sad about “this time”, everybody’s eyes are already on “next time” (South Africa 2010) and how to improve our offensive strategy. While we had high hopes for our boys, it was only that they tried their best for us to be proud.

Development is no easy business; dealing with the problems that people face in a “developing” community/nation, means you are dealing with the most complicated problems that humankind may face in its time. But with attitudes like this, despite the hardships and challenges they face, you can’t but help thinking that success will be inevitable….


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