With the world cup entering the elimination stages, soccer, or “football”, fever remains in all of Ghana. Though the Ghanaians were eliminated, nothing has changed while the holy-grail of soccer tournament continued. Vendors continue to sell jersey replicas in the market, people are still doing their best at predicting matches, and boys will play after school. Even after Ghana was knocked out of the tournament, its evident that football in Ghana is more than just the tournament. Nothing made that fact more clear than my last day at Sankofa prep school.
For the past few weeks, the boys at the school have been training for the schools first football tournament. This put the “future black stars of Eguafo,” as they called themselves, in a tournament against 7 other local schools to compete for their own cup. As the day began, it was clear that the boys playing were not only excited, but every single person affiliate with Sankofa Prep was afflicted with pride in anticipation for the matches to follow over the next few days. Not much teaching happened, but students from Kindergarten to Class 9 were all anticipating watching their school host the competition. Songs in Fante were sung by the footballers, with the younger boys and girls gradually joining in. The took some sticks from the trees and drummed on tables to show their excitement. The teachers looked about smiling and mouthing the words, and I felt only compelled to move long to the beat of the songs. It was clear that football wasn’t just a game to the Sankofa family, but it was a way to create unity, pride, and community.
Soon the headmaster called an assembly, which jointly served as a prep rally before everyone headed over to the field. There at the field with hand made wooden soccer nets. The grass was patchy and uneven, but It was clear that the footballers would not be stopped. Students from all eights schools cancelled classes to watch their team play on the sidelines cheering, playing, completely engaged with the game. Never before have I been a witness to such an event. Not only was it a strong sense of pride, but a spiritual component was evident in which unified the whole community. It was clear that there was so much joy and the games allowed people, especially students and faculty to look past the conditions of the school and enjoy being, living, and supporting each other.