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Opinions of Tuesday, 20 June 2006

Columnist: Amonu, Kofi

Dual Citizens and the World Cup

Habitually, only political issues are discussed on Ghanaweb but due to the success of the Black Stars and the approaching critical game with the US, please permit me to blend a little soccer and humor and politics.

First Appetizer: When Roger Milla scored a goal for Cameroon in the 1990 World Cup, he did a dance at the corner post that became very popular in Ghana so Muntari and I have patented Muntari's dance (and hairstyle) after he scored for Ghana against Czech Republic. We have plainclothes detectives masquerading as party animals at nightclubs. Anyone caught wearing a Muntari hairstyle and doing the Muntari while sober will be fined a bottle of cold Black Star beer at the spot.

Second Appetizer: Paintsil's gesture of waiving the Iserali flag has some people interpreting it in their own ways despite all his explanation. When African-Americans John Carlos and Tommy Smith won medals at the 1968 Olympics in Munich, they gave a Black Power salute at the podium to protest the treatment of African-Americans in their country and were expelled from the Olympic Village. The next African-American to mount the podium was George Foreman for the heavyweight boxing gold. Everybody was anxious to see if he would also give the clenched fist to support the protest. George simply pulled a small American flag from under his shorts and waved it and that started America's long-lasting fondness for him. By his action it is hard to tell whether George supported the protest or not. Luckily Paintsil has an opportunity to diffuse the situation by waving the Ghana flag.

Main Course: I can see Ghanaians all over the world asking their bosses for a day off with all excuses except 'I want to watch the soccer match between US and Ghana'. I can see the ECG and the GBCTV making frantic efforts to ensure that there are no interruptions during the game. I can see people in the villages gathered around battery-powered Akasanoma transister radios under huge mango trees listening to live broadcast. I can hear their shouts of 'g-o-a-l', 'odamu' (it is in there), 'abamu ewie' (it has already happened), and singing 'da no ase' (thank God). I can see the colors of the Ghana flag everywhere and smiles on every face. I can see Essien, Capito (Appiah) and our top players sitting on the bench for most of the second half because we have already spelt USA in goals and other players have been substituted to add an exclamation mark and underline the spelling. I can see the whole country in jubilation with people dancing in the street to kolomashe and kpanlogo while under the control of palmwine, doka and molasses. Drivers are driving slowly and sounding their horns and hitting their brakes to the rhythm of the music. Total strangers are hugging each other and friends and enemies have become one. All beer bars are crowded and police have relaxed because there are no arrests to be made.

The scene is a combination of Cape Coast Afahye, Winneba Aboakyer, Accra Homowo, Kwahu Easter, Christmas, Valentine, and New Year , all in one. The whole country is now one so 'obiara nnye obiara'. Now my question to all is this - put yourself in the shoes of the coach Doya for a minute and imagine this hypothetical situation. Freddy Adu is a dual-citizen of Ghana and America. The American coach will not field him because according their strict selection rules, if a player did not play more that half of the season, he cannot represent them at the WC. Adu played exactly half of the season due to injuries that he sustained during the first part of the season. The American coach is not allowed to comment as to whether he would have been fielded him if he was qualified. Due to his situation, this is the first game that he can play for either country that he chooses. Now, Adu has opted to play for Ghana and will not say if he would have played for US had he been qualified. Clearly, Adu is better than all our 'homegrown' goalkeepers. Will you put him in the post for Ghana against US? Remember that he is the last person to encounter the ball before it enters Ghana's goal post. You have consulted all reliable people and everyone says it is your decision to make.

Desert: Lets look and the ear-to-ear smile on Mutari's face after his goal, the harmony of our team, the national pride and goose pimple that some of us had at the end of the game and refrain from insults, ethnic affiliations and partisan politics in this discussion now and forever. Thank you and God bless Ghana.



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