Before I came to Ghana, lots of people have told me that football is huge there. But it was not until being here that I truly believe what they said. Ghanians love both playing and watching football. You can see kids playing football everywhere: on the playground, in the yard, and even on the street… One day, I asked my students (Fifth Grade) at Mary Queen of Peace Catholic School what they wanted to be when they grew up, almost half of the boys responded “Football Player!” We are very lucky that the 2014 Fifa World Cup is happening while we are in Ghana.
On Monday evening, Ghana had their first game against the USA. Unlike most of the other students in my group, I am really not related to either team, but I was very excited because this was actually my first time being in a country who is a participant team in the World Cup! Before the game, everyone here asked me which team I would support. Honestly, as an international student who is attending school in the US, I should have cheered for America, but somehow I kinda hoped Ghana would win simply because since we are here, it would be more fun to see everybody celebrating than everybody crying… What’s more, I feel like that football is not very popular in America, so Americans would not care as much about winning. On the game day, people’s conversations were all focused on the game that was going to happen that night. The kids in my class were so optimistic and told me that they would “smash” America, like 6:1! And my colleague teachers were also very confident about their country, and said even the game was at 1AM in the morning, they would stayed up to watch it! So in the evening, we left for Oasis Beach Resort to watch the game. When we arrived, the place was already packed. Most of the attendants there “Bruneis”( meaning foreigners in Fante), and there was a group of volunteers from Missouri! And the game started, the US had its first goal at 30 seconds. Wow, we were not expecting that! Ghanaian fans were upset but they all believed they would change the situation eventually. It was very interesting that when US scored, Americans were acting kinda reluctant, nobody was screaming or cheering aloud… to the most, some people would say “USA USA”… However, when Ghana had the ball, especially when their players were approaching the gate, all the Ghanaian fans were suddenly turned up, shouting “Score! Score!”, which became a great comparison to American fans. I just could not wait to see their first score haha. At about 70 minutes, Ghana finally had their first score by Andre Ayew. At that moment, all the Ghanaians in the resort jumped out of their seat because of the excitement. They were running around the place, hugging and kissing each others, and waving their national flag in the air… I wish I could have filmed all these, but it just happened so fast… However, the draw situation did not last long when an american player made the second score for the team at 86 minutes. And there was no miracle happening in the last four minutes, marking the loss of the first game for Ghana in the Brazil World Cup. Those local people looked so disappointed, some of them left even before the end of the game. And when we got back, the city was so quiet. Just imagine, if Ghana won, the situation would be so different!
But anyways, I can foresee that this coming month will be a celebration of football in this country, and I cannot ask a better place to be during the World Cup! And Good luck, Ghana!