Forget Africa’s Mugabe and other fat cats — Ghana
PETER ROEBUCK on Ghana’s rise and rise.
GHANA continue to light the path forwards. Forget about the evil doers, Mugabe, rich people driving Mercedes and paying miserable wages, Malema, the loathsome fat cats of Zimbabwean cricket and others hell-bent on bringing Africa to its knees as they fill their already bulging bank accounts. Focus instead upon the Black Stars’ instructive achievement in surviving a tough group to reach the last 16 of this fine World Cup (friends attending matches in Durban attest to the carnival atmosphere, excellent organisation and the friendliness of the volunteers).
Ghana was the first African nation to secure its liberation. Barrack Obama’s first overseas visit was to Ghana. It is a genuinely democratic country whose governments submit themselves to genuine elections and accept the result (meanwhile the ANC resists the release of its report into the fraudulent Zimbabwean election of 2002).
Of course, it is not a coincidence that this nation of all African nations has again advanced into the later stages. Ghanaian soccer is properly run. Administrators are accountable. Sport ministers cannot run around talking through their hats, which is the fashion hereabouts. Although narrowly beaten by the Germans in their last match, they played with a maturity and skill suggesting that they can go further. And that is without Michael Essien, one of the giants of the game.
It’s the same in cricket. Part of the reason Pakistan, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have been inept is that officials are not accountable to anyone except their political paymasters. It breeds self-interest, sweet tongues and inactivity.
It’d be worth consulting the Ghanaians and visiting the Ivory Coast Academy where strong values are instilled.
Overall, the World Cup has been enjoyable. Its delights have included the disintegration of an arrogant French side, the panache of the Portuguese, the pride of the Kiwis, the rally of the Australians, the progress of the democratic Koreans, the grit of the Ghanaians, the adventure of the Argentineans and the polish of the Brazilians. Soccer has been extremely lucky in its leading team. Champions are supposed to embody the best the game has to offer, a task the Samba boys mostly fulfil
But two weak points have emerged, neither of them the host country’s fault. Overall, the referees have been good, especially those prepared to let the players get on with the game. Alas, a few have spoilt matches by endlessly flashing yellow cards and stopping play for every minor infringement. It is supposed to be a man’s game not a tea party.