View out of Ghana:Football

15 11 2008

Recently I joined a Yahoo group of Ghanaian bloggers. Technically they’re Accra based but I guess I break that rule – and it’s good to remind Accra-ites that there’s Ghana outside Accra. Anyway they’ve suggested that on Saturday 15th we all write a post entitled “View out of Ghana:Football” so this is my attempt.

Quite often I’m asked what team I support back home. When I explain that Brighton and Hove Albion are struggling to stay in the 2nd division and play in a local council sports stadium with a tiny capacity I’m asked confusedly why I don’t support a premiership team. Most of the men here seem to identify with a premiership team and will talk about “we” or “my team” meaning Arsenal, Man U or Chelsea. Quite often they’ll admit to never going to watch Real Tamale play and don’t really seem to understand my idea of local loyalty not matter how crap your team is. Hearts of Oak in Accra seems to have a good following, but they’re successful. Tamale is less so.

Ghanaian’s seem to be passionate (dangerously so) about their national team, “the Black Stars” and avidly follow their matches. It’s quite interesting cycling around when the Black Stars are playing as quite often small shops or businesses will put a TV on the street so that their neighbours can watch the match, and you get small clumps of men peering at TVs of varying levels of antiquity, desperately wishing their team on. When Ghana won some big matches during the Cup of African Nations in January Tamale went wild, with people dancing in the streets with flags, waving flags from maddly driven motorbikes weaving in and out of the crowds and cars hitting their horns. Sadly a few people were killed in accidents in the celebrations, which lasted all night. But to their credit when Ghana was knocked out the news was taken stoically and philisophically with good will towards their conquorers.

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