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Ghana 2008 and the Spirit of Nationalism
Finally, the golden jubilee tournament of the 26th Africa Cup of Nations – Ghana 2008 has come and gone. Although Ghana could not grab the gold, they managed to grab the bronze medal; and the nation is patriotically richer than ever before.
But one legacy Ghanaians left from the tournament that should never be allowed to leave us as a people is the Spirit of Nationalism. And the 23 young players out of 22 million coaches, who carried the entire nation on their fragile shoulders and sweated under great pressure between January 20 and February 10, 2008, were the twinkle Black Stars from Ghana. The stylish Stars did the trick with their superb “soccer” skills and topped off with their acrobatic “kangaroo” legs and pinched toes to step. It was simply titillating and contagious like flu. It didn’t take long before other African nations, starting with almighty Nigeria, started making photocopies of their copyrighted dance moves. No piracy here, please! Michael Essien from Ghana is the originator, instigator and inventor of the “Kangaroonistic” dance in Africa and in the world of football. Any body that wants to duplicate that dance must get permission from him. Period!
What do we say to the brave 23? “Ghana Black Starts, “Ayikooo!” Bravo! You have chalked up what Napoleon could not have achieved.” And we should always keep this African proverb in the back of our minds: “Those who did not take part in the war always have the pleasure to smoke and criticize the battalions that did not fight hard enough.” Don’t blame them, because they don’t know how a monkey sweats.
As a matter of fact, Ghana did very, very well. Able to crush Guinea 2-1; pip Namibia 1 – 0; demolish Nigeria 2 – 1; the massacre of Cote d’Ivoire 4- 2, before finally going down 0 – 1 against Cameroon under some technical accidents and “huhudious” administrative conspiracy, it was not a mean sport at all. In other words, with the exception of Namibia, all the countries that Ghana crushed like empty shells on the way to the Bronze medal are superpower nations as far as football in Africa is concerned. Have a look at the FIFA ranking of those countries on the continent before the start of the Ghana 2008 tournament.
About 20 years ago, in 1987 to be precise, this writer watched an American film at the Ghana Film Industry Corporation (GFIC) Executive Theater in Accra. (I don’t quite remember the title of that film). But in the film, a little boy of about five, living with his mother is bad in some way. It was as if the boy deliberately poured water on the dining table and his mother was mad. The mother started scolding him. She whined and whined and insulted the boy’s father who was not at home at the time. Suddenly, this little boy flourished, looked at his huge mother in her face and retorted: “Mother, why are you whining at me like that? Don’t you know I’m American?” The mother was so shocked and charmed that she could not say a word afterwards.
How some nations on this planet of imperfection manage to imbue or encourage the spirit of patriotism in their citizens to the extent that even when they go wrong in one way or another, most of their citizens still ready to defend them or even lay down their lives for their countries? At what age do they start pumping the sense of patriotism into the minds of their citizens? And what returns do such patriotic citizens expect in return from their nations?
Fueled by this “holy” spirit of nationalism, some Ghanaians not only went to the extent of dressing themselves in national colours, but also decorated their dogs, cats, rams, goats and fowls, with flags Ghana – all cheering to support the national. team – the Black Stars. Even some foreign nationals in Ghana or visitors who came to see the event were so full of the spirit of Ghanaian nationalism that they started competing to prove that they are even more Ghanaians than the Ghanaians themselves. (We say they are more Catholic than the Pope himself). It was just fantastic!
In August 2007, the Ministry of National Orientation and Information formally launched the National Orientation Sensitization Program at the Accra International Centre. It is relevant to quickly refresh our memory of the Five Pillars of the National Orientation that were unveiled that time: 1. Proud to be a Ghanaian; 2. Patriotism and Spirit of “Ghana First”; 3. Positive and “Can – Do – it” Attitude; 4. Productivity and Accountability and 5. Dedication and Discipline.
One has yet to carry out a scientific survey to determine the impact of the program on the population. Nevertheless, through casual observation so far, it will not be inconsistent to judge since the launch of the National Orientation program, along with gradual but deliberate and continuous efforts by the Ministry to make people aware of the need to do things in certain areas. way as people, slowly but increasingly the spirit of patriotism or nationalism is being rekindled in the minds of many Ghanaians. It can be concluded that at least Column N0 1, “Proud to be a Ghanaian” is almost rooted in the hearts of many citizens of this loving country of hospitable people.
Do you remember that during the tournament, the Minister of National Information and Orientation, the Honorable Oboshie Sai Cofie, had to issue an official statement reminding the entire nation that every body should remain standing whenever it was the national anthem being played or sung? and quiet until the anthem was over? That was a simple but profound national orientation instruction. Therefore, even in our concern to display the depth of our patriotism, it is important to take note of such a fundamental ethic of nationalism.
Although the Ministry of Information initiated the policy, it requires the cooperation of other organizations such as the National Commission on Civic Education, the Ghana Education Service, the Commission on Culture, the Commission on Children, the Churches, Mosques, the Shrines as well as parents and individual teachers to be able to implement it effectively for the success of the National Orientation program in the best interest of the nation.
At this point, it is imperative to say a word of appreciation to all Ghanaians from the President of the Republic to the truck pusher in the Sodom and Gomorrah market for the massive support given to the National Team. Ghanaian Senators made better noises than even the Supporters Unions who were paid to make noises. For those Pastors who throw away their orthodox cassocks for a moment and wear dresses in national colors to preach with their congregations blowing horns in the churches all dressed in national colors, God has taken notice of the holy spirit of nationalism that fell upon them.
Our Muslim brothers and sisters as well as the traditional worshipers could not get over the massive support for the Black Stars. Did you see that guy who always went to the stadium with live guinea hens? What about those who carried RIPcoffins from some opposing countries and players? They were all part of psychological support strategies. As for those who do not believe in the existence of God, God still loves them in any way.
But if awards were given to individuals or groups of the best Black Stars fans, Ghanaian women would have cleared the stakes. Ghanaian women not only know how to play football but they can analyze football and support the national team in grand styles. My goodness! I saw women of all shapes and sizes from toddlers to octogenarians supporting the Black Stars non-stop from January to December. It was amazing. Apart from supporting the Black Stars as a National Team, Ghanaian women immediately established women’s fan unions for every individual Black Stars player.
Here is a list of Women’s Supporters’ Unions for all 23 players in the Ghana 2008 tournament:
1. Sammy Adjei – Women’s Supporters Union
2. Hans Adu Sarpei – Women’s Supporters Union
3. Asamoah Gyan – Women Supporters Union
4. John Paintsil – Women’s Supporters Union
5. John Mensah – Women’s Supporters Union
6. Anthony Annan – Women’s Supporters Union
7. Laryea Kingston – Women’s Supporters Union
8. Mihael Essien – Women’s Supporters’ Union
9. Manuel Agogo – Women’s Supporters Union
10. Kwadwo Asamoah – Women Supporters Union
11. Sulley Ali Muntari – Women Supporters Union
12. Andre Ayew – Women’s Supporters Union
13. Baffour Gyan – Women’s Supporters Union
14. Bernard Yao Kumordzi – Women Supporters Union
15. Ahmed Apiamah Barusso – Women Supporters Union
16. Abdul Fatawu Dauda – Women Supporters Union
17. Nana Akwesi Asare – Women Supporters Union
18. Eric Addo – Women’s Supporters Union
19. Alhansan Illiasu – Women’s Supporters Union
20. Quincy Owusu-Abeyie – Women Supporters Union
21. Harrison Afful – Women’s Supporters Union
22. Richard Kingson – Women’s Supporters Union
23. Draman Hamidu – Women’s Supporters Union.
These women’s fan unions can be found in every home in Ghana today. And their singing, dancing and artistic antics alone provided the necessary energy for the Black Stars to die for the nation. Any challenger?
Ghana has managed to prove to the whole world through the Africa Cup of Nations that Africa is a continent of beautiful cultural heritage. The simple but intense closing ceremony was exceptional in the history of the tournament. Only one person could have taken the trophy to the podium to hand over to the winning team. But this simple act was dramatized with four solid bodybuilders aka macho men, carrying a pretty innocent little girl as a huge queen mother in a palanquin was fantastic.
The sweet smiling “black angel” was decked out in regal gold ornaments and a colorful kente headdress with a traditional touch. Multiple divine drummers “fontonbron” stirred the foundation of African culture and the Egyptian champions could not help but try their own hands on the drums and dance like ancient Pharaohs. When their floating spirits were appeased, the magnificent glittering trophy they brought from Egypt was solemnly and respectfully collected back from the paternal hands of the President of the Republic of Ghana, HEJA Kufuor.
Fellow men and women of the country, even if Ghana could not achieve the goal of the “Host and Win” dream, the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) has made the nation proud. The tournament has elevated Ghana to the pinnacle of the World football pyramid. There is no country worth its name in the world today that can say it has not heard of a country called Ghana in West Africa.
What must be done now as a nation is not to cry over spilled milk or engage in blame. We must admit our small, small organizational shortcomings, such as accreditations, tickets and potato-like areas of our magnificent stadiums. Existing Black Stars must be maintained so they can always stay in shape. The team needs to be injected with fresh blood of top class strikers. As for the technical and medical aspects of the team, I leave it to the experts. If we do our homework very well, use creative visualization techniques and petition God to be our Leader, in 2010, Ghana can win back the African Cup of Nations in Angola and the World Cup in South Africa. Remember he who laughs last…
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