I have finally been able to overcome the inertia to take to the keyboard after that painful defeat handed our beloved Black Stars by Luis Suarez, the thief of Joburg. In my last blog a couple of weeks ago, I put out a sarcasm titled Bayie Kɔɔɔɔ III- The gods of the Game. I was basically questioning the role of superstition and religion in the game of football. The way and manner Ghana got kicked out of the tournament brought some fresh perspective to the subject through this one question- Did God abandon Ghana?
There are millions of Ghanaians who believe God is closer to Ghana than any other part of the earth. So strong is this belief that people actually dedicate valuable prayer time to make supplication for football victory, and they believe that the prayer of the rival team is discounted in the presence of the Ghanaian 'Shabalala' delivered in a fresh tongues of men and angels emanating from the bosom of the comforter. This strong force of prayer was deployed both on and off the pitch against every one of our opponents. Then comes Ghana Vs Uruguay on that fateful Friday evening. After taking the lead with Sulley Muntari's last kick of the ball in the first half, we thought we had done it again with the last kick of extra-time when Adiyiah's header headed goal wards, that was until Luis Suarez's hand popped out from the goal line with the ball in hand. The referee could have been excused if he had accepted it as a goal, but alas, he wasn't convinced it had crossed the line. Then comes the cruelty of football. After struggling to get the ball almost across the goal line but for an illegality, the ball is withdrawn 12 yards backward, and Uruguay has the luxury of a goalie to defend the resultant kick. I have followed discussions on the web with many arguing that if Asamoah Gyan had scored the resulting penalty kick, the story would have been different. This may be the case, but you cannot equate a penalty to a goal bound ball that is illegally detained by a man with kleptomaniac tendencies. Surely it is time to mend some of the rules of football, especially if the incident is viewed against the fact that Ghana did not benefit from the red card that was shown to Suarez in the last minute of extra time.
To add insults to injury Luis Suarez speaking before the world's media, ascribed his ignominious achievement to the Omnipotent. Listen to him. "The hand of God now belongs to me", "Mine is the real 'Hand Of God'. I made the save of the tournament." His coach Mr. Tabarez gave a tacit endorsement to that view when he said "I'm emotional. We didn't play well, but we've gone through," . "It seems there's something forcing us on..." He wasn't finished, he continues: "Those who believe in fate or destiny they might be able to explain it." From an Ogyakromian perspective Luis Suarez is a cheat, 'dzulor', 'kubolo', 'dzimakpla' and public enemy No. 1. But I'm sure many Uruguayans regard his action as a heroic act that delivered a nation, an action that must have been inspired by God himself. So whiles Ghanaians weep bitterly about an opportunity stolen by the disingenuous act of a gifted footballer, Uruguayans can go to church and thank God for a great favor. This is reminiscent of the story of Jacob and Esau in the bible. Jacob stole Esau's birth right and ended up being the father of a blessed nation whiles his brother was left crying bitterly. In explaining pre-destination, the Apostle Paul expatiated on the situation of the twin brothers thus:
"10Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."[d] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." – Romans 9:10-12. (NIV). I'm sure many Christians have read this sentence many times without a drop of sympathy for Essau. Perhaps when we replace Essau with Ghana, and Jacob with Uruguay, the next time we quote the verse to justify anything, we will remember that Essau was a man and had feelings.
What did Ghana do wrong? We prayed steadfastly and played well and yet victory was stolen from us. If you will believe Luis Suarez, God stretched forth his hand and literarily appointed Uruguay into the semi final of the 2010 world cup over Ghana. It is as if he said "Uruguay I loved , Ghana I hated". So that leads me to my big question, Did God abandon Ghana or this is evidence that God does not play football?
For the answer why don't we draw inspiration once again from the bible. In the book of Numbers, we are told that as the Israelites journeyed from Egypt to the promise land, the Moabites got jittery and their King by name Balak called for a man named Balaam to curse the intruders. No matter what Balaam did, he did not find a curse tailored for the Israelites. Before he finally gave up, he declared in his second oracle in Numbers 23:23
'There is no sorcery against Jacob,
no divination against Israel.
It will now be said of Jacob
and of Israel, 'See what God has done!'
If only I can find Balaam, I will ask him to search all the books of divination, if he cannot find a curse against Uruguay, then I will conclude that like Israel, Uruguay is a favored son of God. Then we can say, the Lord has done this thing to Ghana. He has blessed Uruguay, and who he blesses, stays blessed. But if we find just one curse, then I know it is not the Lord. If God hasn't done this, I will gather all the curses I can find against Uruguay, and like the Ghanaian that I am, I will hurl all at Uruguay; that they will never qualify for the world cup for the next 70 years, Let Uruguay snatch defeat from victory seven times, What Uruguay has built in fifty years may the hand of Suarez pull down in a day, Kaita shall be the portion of Uruguay, Let the male Uruguay team lose to their female counterpart. As for Luis Suarez, may he carry seven portions of Asamoah Gyan's shame when he lost the penalty kick.
Ah , I'm beginning to feel better. The curses have assuaged my anger, I'm a Ghanaian indeed, an Ogyakromian.