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Ghana 2008 and the Spirit of Nationalism
Finally, the golden jubilee of the 26th Africa Cup of Nations – Ghana 2008 has come and gone. While Ghana was unable to clinch the gold, they were able to snatch the bronze medal from him; and the nation is patriotically richer than ever.
But one legacy handed down to Ghanaians by the tournament that must never be allowed to desert 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 frail shoulders and sweated under supreme pressure from January 20 to February 10, 2008, were Ghana’s scintillating Black Stars. The stylish stars did the trick with their superb “soccer” skills and capped it off with their acrobatic “kangaroo” legs and pinching toes for strides. It was just exciting and infectious like the flu. It wasn’t long before other African nations, starting with the almighty Nigeria, began making photocopies of his copyrighted dance steps. No piracy here please! Michael Essien from Ghana is the creator, initiator and inventor of the “kangaroo” dance in Africa and in the world of football. Any body that wants to duplicate that dance must get their permission. Period!
What shall we say to gallant 23? “Ghana Black Starts, “Ayikooo!” Bravo! You have scored what Napoleon could not have achieved.” And we should always remember this African proverb: “Those who took no part in war always take pleasure in fuming and criticizing battalions for not fighting hard enough.” Don’t blame them, because they don’t know how the monkey sweats.
In fact, Ghana did very, very well. In order to crush Guinea 2-1; pip Namibia 1 – 0; demolish Nigeria 2 – 1; they massacred the Ivory Coast 4-2, before eventually going down 0-1 against Cameroon due to some technical mishaps and a “hudicious” refereeing conspiracy, no feat at all. That is to say, with the exception of Namibia, all the countries that Ghana crushed like empty shells along the way before snatching the bronze medal from them are superpowers when it comes to African football. Just go and look at the FIFA ranking of those countries on the continent before the start of the Ghana 2008 tournament.
Some 20 years ago, 1987 to be precise, this author saw an American film at the Executive Theater of the then Ghana Film Industry Corporation (GFIC) in Accra. (I don’t quite remember the title of that movie.) But in the movie, a boy of about five who lived with his mother was bad in some way. It was as if the boy intentionally spilled some water on the dining room table and his mother got angry. His mother began to scold him. She scolded and scolded and hinted to the boy’s father that he was not home at the time. Suddenly, this little boy was furious, looked his huge mother in the face, and retorted, “Mom, why are you scolding me like that? Don’t you know I’m an American?” Her mother was so surprised and spellbound that she could no longer utter a word from then on.
How do some nations on this planet of imperfection manage to infuse or instill the spirit of patriotism in their citizens to the point that even when they err one way or another, the majority of their citizens are still prepared to defend them or even put them? sacrificing their lives for their countries? At what age do they begin to instill a sense of patriotism in the minds of their citizens? And what benefits do these patriotic citizens expect from their nations?
Driven by this “sacred” spirit of nationalism, some Ghanaians went so far as to not only dress in the national colours, but also adorn their dogs, cats, rams, goats and birds with Ghanaian flags, all jubilant in support of the national nation. team – the Black Stars. Even some foreign nationals in Ghana or visitors who had just witnessed the event were so infested with the Ghanaian nationalist spirit that they began to compete to prove that they were even more Ghanaian than the Ghanaians themselves. (We say that they are more Catholic than the Pope himself). It was just fantastic!
In August 2007, the Ministry of National Guidance and Information formally launched the National Guidance Awareness Program at the Accra International Centre. It is relevant to quickly refresh our memory on the Five Pillars of National Guidance that were unveiled on that occasion: 1. Proud to be Ghanaian; 2. Patriotism and spirit of “Ghana first”; 3. Positive and “can-do” attitude; 4. Productivity and Responsibility and 5. Dedication and Discipline.
One has yet to conduct a scientific survey to determine the impact of the program on the population. However, through casual observation thus far, it would not be out of place to say that since the launch of the National Orientation programme, together with the gradual but deliberate and sustained efforts by the Ministry to raise awareness of the need to do things a certain way. As a people, slowly but surely, the spirit of patriotism or nationalism is being rekindled in the minds of many Ghanaians. It can be concluded that, at least, Pillar No. 1, “Proud to be Ghanaians”, has practically taken root in the hearts of many citizens of this loving country of hospitable people.
Do you remember that during the tournament, the Minister of Information and National Guidance, Hon Oboshie Sai Cofie, had to issue an official statement, reminding the entire nation that whenever the national anthem is played or sung, everyone must stand. ? and silence until the hymn was finished? That was a simple but profound nationally oriented instruction. So even in our eagerness to show the depth of our patriotism, it’s important to take note of that basic ethic of nationalism.
Although it is the Ministry of Information that initiated the policy, it needs the collaboration of other institutions such as the National Commission for Civic Education, the Ghana Education Service, the Culture Commission, the Children’s Commission, Churches, Mosques, Shrines and individual parents and teachers to be able to execute it effectively for the success of the National Guidance program in the supreme interest of the nation.
At this time, it is imperative to say a word of thanks to all Ghanaians, from the President of the Republic to the truck driver in the Sodom and Gomorrah market, for the massive support given to the National Team. Ghanaian MPs made better noise than even the Supporters Unions who were paid to make noise. For those Pastors who shed their orthodox cassocks for a moment and dressed in the national colors to preach with their congregations blowing horns in the churches all dressed in the national colors, God has taken note of the holy spirit of nationalism that descended on they.
Our Muslim brothers and sisters, as well as the traditional faithful, could not be less in their massive support for the Black Stars. Did you see that man who always went to the stadium with lively graffiti? What about those who carried RIP coffins from certain countries and opposing players? All were part of psychological support strategies. As for those who don’t believe in the existence of God, God loves them anyway.
But if the awards were given to individuals or groups of the best Black Stars supporters, the Ghanaian women would have cleared the stakes. Ghanaian women not only know how to play football, but they can also analyze football and support the national team in great style. OMG! I saw women of all shapes and sizes, from little girls to 80-year-olds, rooting for the Black Stars from January to December non-stop. It was incredible. In addition to supporting Black Stars as a national team, Ghanaian women instantly established women’s supporter unions for each individual Black Star player.
Here is the list of Women’s Unions Supporters for the 23 players of the Ghana 2008 tournament:
1. Sammy Adjei – Union of Women Supporters
2. Hans Adu Sarpei – Union of Women Party Members
3. Asamoah Gyan – Union of Women Supporters
4. John Paintsil – Union of Women Supporters
5. John Mensah – Union of Women Supporters
6. Anthony Annan – Union of Women Supporters
7. Laryea Kingston – Union of Women Supporters
8. Mihael Essien – Union of Women Partisans
9. Manuel Agogo – Union of Women Supporters
10. Kwadwo Asamoah – Union of Women Supporters
11. Sulley Ali Muntari – Union of Women Supporters
12. Andre Ayew – Union of Women Supporters
13. Baffour Gyan – Union of Women Partisans
14. Bernard Yao Kumordzi – Union of Women Party Members
15. Ahmed Apiamah Barusso – Union of Women Supporters
16. Abdul Fatawu Dauda – Union of Women Supporters
17. Nana Akwesi Asare – Union of Women Supporters
18. Eric Addo – Union of Women Supporters
19. Alhansan Illiasu – Union of Women Partisans
20. Quincy Owusu-Abeyie – Union of Women Supporters
21. Harrison Afful – Union of Women Supporters
22. Richard Kingson – Union of Women Supporters
23. Hamidu Draman – Union of Women Partisans.
These women’s union supporters can be found in every home in Ghana today. And it was just their singing, dancing, and artistic antics that 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 with a beautiful cultural heritage. The simple but profound closing ceremony was exceptional in the history of the tournament. Only one person could have brought the trophy up to the podium to be awarded to the winning team. But this simple act was dramatized with four solid bodybuilders aka macho men carrying an innocent pretty girl like a grand queen mother in a palanquin, it was fabulous.
The sweet and smiling “black angel” was adorned with royal gold ornaments and colorful kente headdress with a traditional twist. The multiple divine “fontonfron” drums shook the foundations of African culture and the Egyptian champions couldn’t help but try their own hands on the drums and dance like the ancient pharaohs. When their floating spirits were appeased, they solemnly and respectfully collected the magnificent shining trophy that they brought from Egypt from the fatherly hands of the President of the Republic of Ghana, HEJA Kufuor.
Men and women of their country, even if Ghana could not fulfill the dream goal of “Host and Win”, the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) has made the nation proud. The tournament has elevated Ghana to the zenith of the world soccer pyramid. There is no country worth its name in the world today that can say that it has not heard of a country called Ghana in West Africa.
The thing to do now as a nation is not to cry over spilled milk or play the blame game. We must admit our small, small organizational failures, such as accreditations, ticket sales and the potato fields of our magnificent stadiums. The current Black Stars need to be maintained and sustained so that they can remain in shape at all times. There is a need to inject fresh blood from top-class strikers into the team. As for technical and medical aspects of the team, I leave them to the experts. If we do our homework very well, use creative visualization techniques and ask God to be our Guide, in 2010 Ghana can win both the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola and the World Cup in South Africa some time ago. Remember that he who laughs last…
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