“When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they know sardines will be thrown into the sea” Eric Cantona.
The game that was, is, and will forever be a crowd-pulling game perhaps deserves more than we currently give it. It remains a powerful tool that is being underutilised in our part of the world. The news of a star-studded peace match being organised by Michael started as a rumour, it gathered momentum, the hours drew closer, the thought of coming so close to some of the world’s heavyweights of football made hearts throb and then the day finally came.
Yes, it then finally donned on the football-loving community in Ghana that what originally looked as a publicity gimmick became a reality and the names that were peddled around were not only meant to draw the fans to the nation’s Wembley (in our case, wobbling) after all.
And when eventually those gallant men of world football emerged from the tunnels of the Ohene Gyan stadium, it became clear that it was a game meant to promote peace and not war. The usual stern faces that would usually characterise most epic encounters, made way for broad and affectionate smiles.
And, when friendly hostilities started, those folks who were by dint of existence, decades ahead of the many twenty-first century lads who filled the red-gold-green seats of the Ohene Djan stadium, were made to re-live moments of the 80’s and 90’s. But hey, Asamoah Gyan and Castro were in handy to provide the twenty-first century lads more than they asked for.
Then it became clear that “the seagulls were there because they knew that sardines would be thrown at them” and they were indeed thrown at them! The deft touches of Appiah (Stephen), the sharp shooting skills of Yao Rush Preko (which resulted in the World XI’s second goal), the Usain Bolt-like surging runs of Emmanuel Sheyi Adebayor and the unblemished and near-perfect free-kick from Raba Majer were enough to serve as the sardines that drew the seagulls (spectators) into the sea (Ohene Djan stadium).
And, when in God’s infinite wisdom, he sent the rains to become the anchor in our (African’s) veil, it became clear that peace and only peace is what Africa deserves. Then the question of where are the sardines of our current premiere league in Ghana came to me but its accompanying answer(s) eluded me. (A subject for further diagnosis)
The Sub Plots
As we congratulate Michael for a job well done, it will be a matter of behaving like the proverbial ostrich to think that everything was perfect. Unlike many such events the world over, the presence of too many people (invited and uninvited) onto the pitch after the match, was nauseating to say the least. Such pitch invasions pose security threat to both players and dignitaries alike and a guard against it will be crucial in the future.
Perhaps those who watched the match on TV will also agree with me that commentary was poor as the commentators of the day clearly lacked basic background information on the players. It was amazing to hear these colleagues of mine still refer to simple footballing roles such as right and left-full back as “number 2 and 3 positions”. If I am to go by the organisers’ assertion that other African countries were to pick the feed and watch the match live, then clearly, a better job in the area of commentary will be needed in the future. Meanwhile, all in all, we say kudos to Michael and his foundation.
Source: Joshua Tigo [email protected] The writer is a Freelance Journalist based in Accra
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