It was the first game of a two round playoff between the two countries for Brazil 2014.
[You can find my recount of the Black Stars vs Zambia game here.]
Approaching the stadium was the usual loud, mad, excited chaos. Vendors and hawkers, queues of fans; but this time around, the festival atmosphere was tinted with a heightened sense of anxiousness, or nervous tension at least. [Email subscribers click to play the video].
This tension was understandable. This game meant another step closer to Brazil. With the home ground advantage again for the Black Stars, it was their chance to make a real dent in the Pharaoh’s chances. With the stakes high, the police were out in full force. Full riot gear, armoured vehicles, and lots of men on the ground. Once inside the main turnstiles of the Stadium, ticket entry was controlled by police. Now Ghanaians don’t have quite the same finesse as the British when it comes to queuing, but when a clearly exasperated policeman slid his machine gun off his shoulder and into his hands….well, let’s just say the queuing got a lot more orderly. Once inside, the raised stakes were reflected in the greatly increased number of media clustered around the pitch.
The crowd though, as we expected, were well behaved, excited and apprehensive, but as always…cool.
It would, however, have been a lie to say we hadn’t wondered what would have happened should the Black Stars have lost.
Well, we needn’t have worried about that.
It was a whitewash. First goal at 4 minutes. 6-1 at the close.
We’re not the world’s biggest football fans, although living here is certainly pushing us in that direction. But surely we’re creating unrealistic expectations in the kids when it comes to football scores.
You couldn’t help but feel sorry for the Egyptians. Amidst a terrible few years they have had politically, and an apparently stellar leadup to this playoff, a win would have made many people happy. We commiserated with them on the way out, because, let’s face it, the chances of anyone making 7-1 aren’t great, are they?
On the entertainment side: I have never, ever seen street theatre in Ghana. Apart, of course from the usual theatre that is life on the streets. But have a look at this guy, another example of African ingenuity, and a perfect marriage of street theatre and income.
The show continued after the closing whistle, again with the magical singing and dancing [click to play]
See you on Friday for TGIA – Thank God its Africa.