Monday, February 4, 2008

And I Thought the Super Bowl Was a Big Deal: More Ghana-Nigeria

The Super Bowl was an amazing game for gridiron fans.
A story line of good vs. evil that couldn't be believed.

Still, this pales in comparison to the match-up that took place in Ghana on Sunday between Ghana and Nigeria.

Here, a taste from Jeff Klein of the New York Times' Goal blog about the fall out from Ghana's 2-1 victory over Nigeria.

There were two Super Bowls happening in the world on Sunday — the one in America with the Giants of gridiron football, and the one in Africa with the two giants of African football: Ghana vs. Nigeria. Both games were amazing.

No rivalry anywhere on the continent is as intense as the one between the Black Stars of Ghana and the Super Eagles of Nigeria, and when they met Sunday at a packed Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra, a berth in the African Cup semifinals was on the line. Nigeria went ahead 1-0, but Ghana rallied on goals from Chelsea’s Michael Essien and, while down a man, from Nottingham Forest’s Junior Agogo to beat the Super Eagles for only the second time in tournament history, 2-1. Highlights are here:

The victory was not only huge for Ghana in the tournament, it was huge in the Ghanaian imagination. As the Accra Daily Mail put it, “Wow!“, and within hours of the Black Stars’ triumph over their West African rivals, this song was cooked up (“These Nigerian suckas think they can come here and score, so we discipline them”). That was a response to this Nigerian joint, which was recorded before the game and told how “When Nigeria catch Ghana we go hammer them”.

As it turns out, it was the Super Eagles who got hammered, or, as The Guardian of Lagos put it, the Super Chickens.

Meanwhile back in Ghana the celebrations went on unabated. In Tamale, according to Ghana News Agency, citizens “of all ages went into joyful celebration with the noise pervading the air as though the people of Dagbon were celebrating their annual fire festival“, even as, elsewhere in the country, “Fans go gay in Sekondi”. Finally, if you think Ghanaian news organization are above gloating over knocking off Nigeria, have a look at this page and think again.

I tell you, I am falling in love with the majesty of the African game. It's intense on so many different levels than the European or even South American game is.

From my uneducated perspective, African football is on the verge of making a MAJOR breakthrough. I'm not saying a 2010 World Cup victory. But more fans will be more aware of the quality of this continent's football. It's right around the corner.

I hope I can shed even a small light on the beauty that is African soccer.

No comments: