After four years, our chance at redemption arrives – It’s Game Time
The FIFA World Cup…Arguably the most popular sporting event in the world.
The one moment, every four years, where the Beautiful Game cloaks the entire planet in its glory.
The time when family members and friends who don’t follow the bread-and-butter domestic leagues morph into die-hard supporters; people who scream loudest amongst us in fervent support of their nation, the footballing disease to linger in their systems for a few weeks and rage in their veins before dissapating slowly away to allow them to recover to normality.
For those countries whose national teams have been mainstays of the tournament – the Germanys, the Argentinas, the Brazils of this world – a place in the World Cup has become a birthright, a claim to greatness, a given in the sporting calendar every four years. Almost taken for granted (which, by the way, doesn’t numb or dull the ferocity of their support in any way).
For Ghana, such has been our impact that people forget that this is only our third World Cup.
The first World Cup, we were all dizzy and light-headed at being present at our first World Cup – a long-denied privilege finally come to reality. We were just happy to be there, and we enjoyed the ride.
The second World Cup? We came back more disciplined. More focused on showing ourselves as not a novelty act, but a force to be reckoned with. By the time we reached the Quarter-Finals, nobody wanted to meet Ghana. We were feared. During the Quarter-Finals, the substance of our play under the South African moon led many to begin to ponder seriously that this Ghana team may be fated at the first African World Cup for a greatness no other African team had yet realised – a place in the World Cup semi-finals.
Let’s not talk about the conclusion to that particular chapter just yet – this is supposed to be a rousing, positive piece…
This World Cup?
Ghana arrives wiser. A conglomerate of experienced heads and effervescent youth. However, Ghana in the world’s eyes has a big problem. The group Ghana found itself in is undoubtedly a horror group, of an extremely intense difficulty.
There can’t be many amongst us who didn’t feel the air punched out of their stomachs when that group was finalised.
There can’t be many who first considered the prospect of a United States team hell bent on revenge, a Germany team as solid and efficient and powerful as any other, and a Portugal team which is home to the best (and arguably, in my opinion, most complete) footballer in the world – and felt good.
But then despair turned to pride, before beginning to turn to defiance.
Because as many of us began to slowly acknowledge, if any African team can get out of such a group, Ghana can.
We’ve done it twice before. We’ll do it again.
And that’s why our social media timelines have lit up in a blaze of red, gold and green. Faces have been painted. Songs have been written. Prominent figures in our community and the everyday Ghanaian have merged subtly into one massive body of support. Regardless of our talent, our natural place in the world, whether it be media, or fashion, or the arts – we are all converging under the three-tiered umbrella that the Big Six built in 1957. Time and energy has been spent building campaigns such as our own Let’s Goal Ghana campaign – not as gallows humour, for a team which is destined for abject failure, but as a rallying war cry for a nation which is confident it will shock the world again!
2014. Our third World Cup. Ghana come prepared. Ghana come ready. We’ve never come to a World Cup willing to lay down and die for anybody. We’ve always come with intent, to give our best and give our all. Yes, like all great families, we have our issues. We’ve had our complaints over the years. Blood has threatened to turn bad, and relationships have threatened to turn sour. But as the World Cup commences, all of that has disappated – we have built bridges, forgiven, recovered from our most dejecting moment to stand taller and stronger than before. Now, we unite, with one common purpose. One common goal. To wave our great flag high and proud for the world to see. And to make the world fall in love with us once more with our flair and creativity.
The Brazil of Africa is hellbent on putting on a show and righting some wrongs. However, win lose or draw – our third World Cup is going to be one hell of a ride. So sit back, with your white jersey, your ice-cold supermalt in hand, butterflies in your stomach and black star across your chest – and enjoy the show.
It’s Our Time.
Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)