Decades ago I read a scintillating headline in
a British tabloid asking “Is God a British*?.
This was when Britain had sfter a long struggle discovered oil in commercial quantities at a time of deep recession in the country. The newspaper concluded that God had come to the rescue of Great Britain in the nick of time.
I would like to paraphrase this story of Britain and ask whether God is a Ghanaian. I am tickled to ask this question following three dramatic events last Tuesday that, to a great extent, suddenly appeared to lift the dull spirit of a nation haunted by acrimonious discourse all over the place.
The overflogged E-Levy and its attendant commotion in Parliament has crowded out all national issues. But like a bolt from the blue President Akufo Addo’s 78th birthday celebration somehow brought wonderful vibes of brightness in the skies.
When in a jubilant mood the President flew to Tamale to inaugurate the City’s first ever multiple exchange, the controversial E-Levy that has been a huge contention in Parliament
was being passed much to the relief of a hitherto confused populace.
And to put the icing on the cake, the senior national football team, Black Stars, won the ticket for this year’s World Cup scheduled for Qatar in November. This hard won conquest of the Super Eagles of Nigeria has completely changed the complexion of grim faced football loving Ghanaians who paid a colossal sum of 1 4 million cedis to watch the Black Stars first leg match in Kumasi.
With that goalless affair in Kumasi the Stars needed to score a vital away goal in Nigeria to brighten their chances of qualifying. And this they did through “Captain Marvel” Partey. In that Lions Den in Abuja,the Eagles tried all their tricks to soar over the Stars but their best was a penalty equaliser.
The Stars stood firm and playing to perfect instruction of Coach Otto Addo they remained unruffled and benefitted from the away goal that will see them among the five top African teams in Qatar.
It is remarkable that despite the uncertainties surrounding preparations towards the two qualifying matches,both officials and players closed their ranks and with unity of purpose Super Nigeria, expecting an oracle to be fulfilled with a massive victory over what they considered to be unknown Stars,rather saw a miracle performed.
It’s good news that no Ghanaian fan was hurt in the aftermath riots in Abuja. With their track record the riots after the game is not surprising.Some of us anticipated this but did not want to highlight it for it might have frightened the young men leading to negative distraction. Let’s give thanks to God for a safe return home.
President Akufo Addo welcoming the team to Jubilee House desribed the Abuja conquest as the best possible birthday gift to him. That’s right.I know him to be a real football lover and I believe the nation will give every legitimate support to the team to shine in Qatar.
I have known him since 1964 when he edited Ohene Djan’s book *Short History of Ghana Football.I was a junior sportswriter at the Daily Graphic and I was sent regularly to the Library to do a lot of research work for the book.It turned out to be a useful exercise for me.
That is when I developed interest in research work.for facts and figures in sports in general and football in particular. It also brought me in close contact with Nana Akufo Addo. No wonder when he decided to resurrect his late fathers newspaper The Statesman, he got me to work on the paper for ten years 1992 – 2002.
The research work for Ohene Djan further spurred me on to write the complete history of the national football league in two volumes The first in 1995 and the second in 2013.
It is my hope that the FA will maintain the camaraderie with the technicians,players, NSC, sports ministry and the media to make Ghanas presence felt in Qatar.
The past few days have shown that Ghanaians love football.It is truly the passion of the nation and nothing should be done to destroy this national pastime.
Cheers everybody and keep love.
By Ken Bediako