Today I am going to keep this piece light hearted, well as much as I can do anyway.
I was watching the England v Uruguay match yesterday. I missed the first game against Italy, but that’s me, I am not really a footie fan, well I just can’t stand to sit for 90minutes + watching guys kick a ball around in the hopes that it may go in the net. However, there is something about the world cup where as much as I try, I get carried away with it.
Half of me was willing the boys to win, but the other half of me was just thinking “another 4 years of England talking about the glory that was 1966”. Then after going 1-0 down, Rooney for a brief second showed us that he still had it, and put one in the net. All they had to do was hold onto it, but then Suarez showed them why he is one of the highest paid footballers in the world and put them back in their place.
After a desperate scramble to get back up, the final whistle blew. The commentator said that “it looks like England may be going home”. I think it is safe to say that they are, but for an act of God or a bout of food poisoning which takes down the whole of the other 3 nations in the group, I am sorry boys, better luck next time (again).
Then there are the black stars, much like their former colonial masters, I can’t see them going forward. They didn’t manage to take down USA (even though they beat them twice before), and well they are unlucky enough to face Germany and Portugal. Gone are the days when Ghana is seen as a walk in the park, so I don’t think the German or Portuguese coaches will play their Team B players, and from where I am sitting chances are, Germany and Portugal will be moving to the next round. Now I could be wrong, stranger things have happened but I am not holding on to much hope.
Now I am by no means a football expert, but what I can see from these two countries is a case of overindulgence. The likes of Rooney and Gerrard are in The Sun newspaper ever week, drinking champagne in the club, baby mama drama’s and every weekend some blond or brunette has sold her story about a one night affair with somebody. The wives or WAGs are on reality TV shows, bringing out some perfume, clothing line or food range. I am not saying it’s bad, you got to earn a living, but with David Beckham and Posh came a new brand of footballer celebrity, so when do they find the time to concentrate on the game.
In Ghana, it’s more or less the same. The drama may be a bit different, but they are our celebrities. If you drive around town you will see Asamoah Gyan on a billboard enjoying food seasoned with Royco. Dede Ayew enjoying fan ice and Michael Essien the face of MTN. Now I am not saying daddy shouldn’t get paid, but then when you hear about Essien arriving late for pre-world cup training, you wonder why he even bothered to turn up at all if his heart wasn’t in it.
I find the two teams quite cocky. The Ghana team said that they would not underestimate the US, sure they said it but I know they were thinking that it would be an easy ride, even the fans were saying that it would be an easy ride. The same thing with England some years back, I can’t remember what team it was but they didn’t even bother bringing on their top players, until that is, and the other team showed them pepper. The same with USA, it wasn’t an easy ride at all, they say 2 out of 3 isn’t bad….well it is now.
Then there is the cash. I received a whatsapp a few weeks ago, saying the players have demanded (yes demanded) $100,000 as an appearance fee. These are guys who play for top clubs around the world, FIFA are already paying them handsomely for playing, is there no sense of national pride? I mean this is your third appearance at the world cup, at least England can claim their 1966 glory.
The painful part with both my country of birth and country of origin (and now residence) is that it is the fans that are feeling the pain.
After the Ghana v USA match, people were literally sick. When I got off the motorway to Tema following day, the usual choked up roundabout was unusually clear. On the radio, people were displaying all kinds of emotions, I literally nearly wet myself from laughing. One guy said that he couldn’t sleep so had to take two shots of apeteshie (the local rum) before he could get to bed. Another person was quite disturbed and nearly had a fight with the radio presenter. People had lost their appetites and my office for one was very solemn.
I do believe that the respective countries do have a sense of national pride and do go to the world cup with the intention of taking all the way, but I think that the prestige of being an “Premiership” player means that it is just another cup and for example, if you have been playing for Chelsea, you have already been a winner and either way you will still get paid.
Maybe I am just hating, afterall, it would take me about 20 years to see a clear $100,000 in my bank account and would have to sacrifice a lot to even get that (no eating, no dstv, no car etc…).
My bet is that a South American team will win the game, I even hope it is Brazil, it is always nice to win on home soil, you can ask the English squad of 1966.