Vibes And Pressure

I had to write this. I had a vision which was the impossibility of the first African team to get to the final four in the World cup. The first World cup in Africa. And then it dawned on me. That horrifying feeling that my vision really was too good to be true. The shattering of a dream. It did, for a moment feel like Africa had become one huge unified continent. In London, the Black star flags flowing proudly from cars and not one, unlike the England flags, broken off by the force of the wind, strewn at the side of the road.

In reality the glory of a continent in the arena of sports denied by the the new "hand of God" It was almost as if Suarez wrenched the title from Maradona and took away the power that created his legend as the mystic manager that was destined to lead Argentina to further World cup glory. Suarez takes the title, Argentina crashes out and Maradona resigns. Very fitting. Somehow I think "hand of the Devil" is more apt.

It is Ironic that even though we all serve the same God, the winners always sight God's power for their win and the losers are left to find a romantic justification for the loss, or just blame the Devil. The Roman Catholic Church has spread its tentacles all over Africa, and all over South America, but is now losing its right to legal immunity. Losing the self appointed right to harm people and get away with it. It will be very hard for the Church, but as John Blood states in his piece, times are indeed changing, and I think its about time those walls came tumbling down. Now, back to football.

As a bearer of the Black Stars flag, I noticed that there was a gathering of Africans in all shapes and sizes behind Ghana. Many people had become honorary Africans. The team always stressed that this was being done for Africa, their continued progress was for the whole of Africa, and it seemed that the people started to believe that. Victory against Uruguay and progressing to the final four on African soil was not about Ghana, it was win for Africa.

To lose in such a dramatic fashion was, however, all about Ghana. I noticed the commentators were surprised that so many other African nations were supporting Ghana, so the bitter sweet pill of hearing the words "its the end of the Africa dream" were especially resonant to me. They are still ringing in my ears now. Was it really all a dream? Did the African really have a chance? All the other promise of Africa had gone out in the early stages of the competition, surely Ghana couldn't do much better? Surely they couldn't make footballing history in Africa.

See, when you play with fire, you get burnt, this is logical. As Africans we are always playing with fire. Everything that is unique about Africa we tend to take for granted or we use a tool to generate revenue or we allow others to use as a tool to generate revenue. This is the game we play and it really is so much bigger than football.

I watched the game when Ghana beat the USA. It was wonderful for African football, not only because Ghana beat a much better USA team than they did in 2006, but also because the Americans, in true Hollywood blockbuster style had several million supporters across the Atlantic in the old US of A, (apparently their games had the highest viewing figures) and a star studded line up in the stadium including Bill Clinton and Mick Jagger (who quickly switched to his England Shirt after the USA lost) The profile of African teams and Ghana a footballing nation was raised.

Anyway I'll let you into a secret, due to my affliction with the deadly dis-ease Procrastinitis, I wrote this article in two sections. The latter section is written with the hindsight of being aware that Uruguay's volleyball team are now out of the running to win World cup, after a spirited battle with the Dutch and a goal awarded against them that should have been offside, I almost found myself rooting for the volleyball team and prayed for them to call on the "hand of the devil" but they changed tact and decided to play football instead (I am starting to sound bitter aren't I)

It would have been nice to see a little variety in the World cup final and that was why it was such a shame that Ghana went out when they did. After seeing the result of Uruguay and Holland, I had a crazy feeling (without trying to sound like a disillusioned England commentator ) that due to sheer ram hearted determination Ghana could have beaten Holland on the day, had it not been the for the antics the Uruguayans and/or Asamoah Gyan's penalty miss. The anti-penalty, I haven't mentioned that have I, I put that miss down to pressure, although I do have the weak hearted tendency to be a little too forgiving.

Asamoah Gyan had now transferred the dreams of the entire African continent into his foot. In seconds before he took that penalty we had all planned our celebratory dances and which party we were going to and how long that party would go on for. All the owners of the Ghanaian bars and clubs in London rubbed their grubby mits together thinking of the all the money that they would be making though the reckless abandon of the crazed legions of fans. Hell, even the Turkish shops in London that were near to Ghanaian outlets would make a killing, as we all know how randomly supportive the Black pound is!

We were all on the edge of our seats literally waiting for that inevitable goal, from Algeria in the North through to Nigeria in the West and Angola in Central. Once the ball hit the cross bar all our dreams began to swiftly unravel, and no doubt there was utter maniacal but short lived jubilation on the streets of Montevideo (yes I have been on wikipedia, but I bet none of you could state the capital city of Uruguay until now and it is such an interesting word, no?)

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, 230 people were torched to death in a village called Sange after a petrol tanker crashed and caused a huge fireball. Many of the victims were in a cinema watching the game. So many variables. I wonder what stage of the the game the accident occurred at? First half? Extra time? if Ghana had won without going into extra time would all those people have left the cinema at a different time?

So now we have reached the finals and the end of the world cup, Africa's almost crowning moment. My prediction was that an African team should, would and could be in the final, the first on (pseudo) African soil, but I was wrong. So much for my clairvoyance, I need more training.

I read a story about a "psychic" Octopus called Paul, who is incarcerated in a Zoo in Oberhausen, Germany. He has, by predicting Spain's win against Germany maintained an 100% accurate prediction rate in all Germany's games during the this world cup.

They put a container with octopus food, (whatever that is) in the tank with a flag of each nation on each container, and which ever he goes to to denotes his prediction. Apparently he had an 80% prediction rate in the last European cup, his only error was picking Germany as the winners against Spain in the final when Spain actually won. By picking Spain again I bet the the Germans were hoping that he was wrong again, but he wasn't. Maybe he's taking the piss with his a jailers. He predicted correctly all Germany's wins against Australia, Ghana and England, the loss against Serbia and the final loss against Spain. I wonder how he would predict a draw?