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Coach Appiah: A Signifier of What We Can Do
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Sports Features of Friday, 18 October 2013

Source: Mensema, Akadu Ntiriwa

Coach Appiah: A Signifier of What We Can Do

*By Akadu Ntiriwa Mensema, Ph. D.

**I wrote this poem in the immediate aftermath of the Black Stars’ victory over the Egyptian Pharaohs. I decided not to publish it and waited, hoping that President John Mahama would congratulate Coach Akwasi Appiah and the Black Stars for winning the first encounter, at least, to inspire them for the second match in Egypt. But it has not happened. If Coach Appiah had been a white man, Ghanaian powers that be would have sung his superior praises and celebrated his whiteness. Ironically ordinary wives of Western heads of state as well as unknown Presidents of American backyard colleges have access to the President. Meanwhile when Ghanaian leaders visit the USA the American media hardly mentions their names. Not surprisingly, Mahama announced his presence as a billboard of CNN! Time has come for us to recognize our blackness as a gift, one reason why Nkrumah, the peerless pan-Africanist, named our national team the Black Stars to tell the world that blackness is as incandescent and luminous as whiteness.

So many Serbian coaches
We celebrated them
We overpaid them
We have demonized Ghanaian coaches
We have underpaid our own
Poising a bouquet of hope for white coaches
Poising invective arrows at black coaches

Akwasi Appiah arrived
We mocked
We cajoled
We insulted
We derided
We taunted
We parodied
We caricatured
We inferiorized Akwasi Appiah
And we inferiorized our blackness

Akwasi Appiah remained
Persuasive
Potent
Poignant
Poised
Packaged in self-assuredness
Of elegance in soccer erudition
With no inferiority meltdown
Like black ice before a white sun
He stood his Ghanaian grounds
Proud
Ebullient in spirit
Proud to be a Ghanaian
Radiant in his duties
With no troubling signs of blackness
Of immemorial inferiority
With no troubling signs of inferiority

Akwasi Appiah is a master of his craft
Dazzling craftsmanship
Resplendent in his calmness
His incandescent instructions
He illuminates the field of play
His symphonies of instructions
Wields rhythms of play

Akwasi Appiah is excellence
Epitome of our excellence
Of our potential moments of excellence
Of what we can do
Of what we should do
Of what we must do
Of what Ghana needs
Of what Africa needs
Exemplary commitment
Loyalty, devotion
Hard work, altruism
Dying a little for Ghana
To brighten up Ghana
In the horizon of nations
Making Africans proud

Akwasi Appiah the maestro
He is an epitome of all of us
Rising up with hope
Holding hope
Caressing inspiration
Doing our best
Showing our best

Akwasi Appiah the watershed of calmness
Animated, inspired calmness
Animation in undefined space
Inspiration in defined space
Forcing opponents to chase mirages
Like Saharan elusive mirages

Akwasi Appiah shows steely excellence
Africanizing sparkling hope
Birthing pan-African hope
Filmic signification of excellence
Inspiring a fountain of hope
Hungry with a sense of purpose
Ah! Watershed of pan-African doable

Akwasi Appiah arrived
Epitome of excellence
Worthy of emulation
Akwasi you are a fountain of hope
Akwasi you exemplify what we can do
When inspired
When we are true to faith
When we are not corrupt
When we are not nepotistic
When we are not pen-armed robbers

*Akadu Ntiriwa Mensema, Ph. D., is a nationalist Denkyira beauty. She is a trained
oral historian cum sociologist and Professor in the USA. She lives in Pennsylvania
with her great mentor and teaches Africa-area studies at a college in Maryland. In
her pastime, she writes what critics have called “populist hyperbolic, satirical”
poetry. She can be reached at akadumensema@yahoo.com. All my poems and essays on
Ghanaweb and elsewhere must not be reproduced in full or in part for any academic or
scholarly work without my written permission.

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