Leaving the J residence of mourning, Accra felt very still. At first I thought the whole city was in mourning over the week’s 3 horrific major highway accidents which had left a total of 27 people dead. Weekends in Ghana are typically for burials, funerals, and memorials.
But while Accra was indeed in shock, it was not because of reckless drivers, wrongful overtaking, speeding and not even poorly maintained articulated trucks. Accra was in shock because of the national past-time: FOOTBALL. That afternoon, the national team, the Black Stars, lost a World Cup 2010 qualifying match to Gabon while Cameroon taught our Black Maidens, our U-17 women, how the game is really played. Mɔbɔ! The Black Stars were later able to redeem themselves still keeping Ghana in the running to compete in 2010. That match could also be felt throughout the city. You didn’t have to be at the Stadium or watching TV to know when we had scored or missed an opportunity to. The streets were alive! Such is the power of football in Ghana.
If nothing else, my two weeks in Ghana was notable for catching up with the world of soccer. You have to go to such great lengths to be able to do that State-side. The UEFA Euro 2008 had started before I left but you wouldn’t have known it watching TV in the US. Here in Ghana, I could watch each and every single game. I was impressed by “Iron Robin” ahem Arjen Robben and the Dutch. They massacred both Italy and France, the World Cup 2006 finalists, to survive the group of death. Too good! Too good! I had hoped they would win the tournament, but alas they let Russia, R-u-s-s-i-a, kick them out. I especially enjoyed Turkey’s matches with both the Czech Republic and Croatia. Lovely! Although, I couldn’t watch the Final as I was up in the air with Delta returning to the States, I was happy to see that the Spaniards had defeated the Germans as shown on the newsreel while I was standing in line at US immigration. It was different and it made the wait a wee bit bearable.