Saturday, January 19, 2008

A First-Hand Report from Ghana

We here at 'Road to 2010' are honored to have a first-hand report of the scene in Ghana from New African Soccer Magazine's Jake Brown, who sent this to me mere moments ago. The article gives a great account of the goings-on in Ghana ahead of the 2008 African Cup of Nations.

After you read the piece, please read some info about their wonderful magazine.

With just one day until kick off, Ghana is gripped by Nations Cup fever. Jake Brown reports from Accra.

You can’t escape it. The football has arrived. As the last of the teams fly into Ghana to prepare for the 28th edition of the African Cup of Nations the excitement in this football-mad country is reaching boiling point.

In the nation’s capital it seems every billboard in town is about the Cup. In Ghana’s chop bars and drinking spots, on TV and radio, people can talk of little else. The central streets are lined with the flags of participating countries and the street hawkers laden down with Nations Cup merchandise. Before a ball has been kicked Ghana is Nations Cup crazy.

The continents showpiece tournament is back in Ghana for the first time since 2000. Since then the Nations Cup has grown and grown and this edition is set to attract more attention than any before.

Over a million people are expected to travel to West Africa to watch the continents show piece tournament. As the tournament looms large, Accra is abuzz.

On Wednesday Ghana’s Black Stars touched down at Kotoka international airport in Accra. They returned from their training camp in Dubai to be greeted by 100s of devoted fans decked out in the nation’s colours of green, yellow, and red. The fans gave their players a raucous reception and set the tone for what promises to be one of the most colourful and competitive editions of the African Cup of Nations.

The anticipation is palpable but it hasn’t all been plain sailing in the run up to the kick off. Supporters have complained about a lack of tickets for some games, particularly those involving Ghana. Touts have bought many of the cheapest tickets (£2/4Cedis) for the opening match and are now selling them on at up to twelve times their face value. Meanwhile down at the media accreditation centre journalists have faced long queues and chaos as the computer systems went down on Friday.

On Sunday the tournament kicks off in Accra when Ghana plays Guinea, in the newly refurbished Ohene Djan Stadium. The nation expects. “We’ll be too strong for them. Three zero that is the score-line” says Accra resident Jerry Seamegbe. That confidence is echoed everywhere you go.

It’s been 30 long years since the Black Stars won the Cup of Nations and the country knows this is its best chance in a long time to lift the trophy. Ghana demands nothing less than a record equalling fifth title.

But if Ghana is to lift the trophy come February 10th it’ll be no mean feat. African football today boasts some of the world’s greatest talents and at least half of the nations competing will feel they have a good chance of taking the title. It promises to be a feast of football.

The teams are here, the fans are waiting, and the world’s media have arrived. As all eyes turn to Ghana, let us hope that the play on the pitch can live up to the colour and passion of the fans off it. One thing is for sure, Ghana is ready to put on one hell of a party.

INSIDE ISSUE 9 of New African Soccer Magazine:

* An exclusive interview with Ghana coach Claude Le Roy.

* Analysis of all of the groups at CAN '08 and profiles of each team at the tournament.

* Captains Corner- NAS speaks to Stephen Appiah (Ghana), El Hadji Diouf (Senegal), Aaron Mokoena (South Africa), and Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria) in the run up to Ghana '08.

and much much more...

New African Soccer is on sale in the UK, Ghana, and Sierra Leone. Or where ever you are in the world you can get it delivered to your door - SPECIAL OFFER ON P&P FOR ISSUE 9 -see the website for more details.

Look out for New African Soccer on sale at the stadiums at the Cup of Nations.

Alternatively you can download the PDF version for just £1!

Click here here here to go to their website ...

Please support the magazine! It's a great read!

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