Thursday, 23 August 2007

Senegal Draw Ghana in London Friendly

Millwall Stadium, Tuesday 21 st August, 2007...
The African soccer friendly at the New Den, Millwall Stadium was an eye opener.

I have seen Ghana playing ( vs Nigeria last February where the Kwame Nkrumah grand-kids won 4-1). But Senegal was a different story. More than two thirds of the supporters were on Ghana's side so, green-red-yellow colours seemed to say "Black Stars rules." No wonder the first goal a minute before halftime was from the Black Stars, hosts of next year's Africa Cup. Everything was in Ghana's favour, the chants, the Kpanlogo drums, the fans, the aforesaid colours. A zealous supporter near me kept waving a huge flag, to the annoyance of a ten year old girl who complained but had to get used to football over-zealousness.
Stadiums are one of the few places where you can shout as loud as you can and express yourself.
"Our flags are almost similar. The only difference is the star in the middle for Ghana's," quipped another singing supporter.

By halftime it was drizzling...

No wonder players are paid large sums of money. We sat watching a wet El Hadji Diouf captaining his minority side (South London is second home to Ghanians and we all know the Senegalese are more at home in France); the Bolton Wanderers star's efforts were rewarded with a goal. It was around 72 minutes.
By that time Senegal was proving the tougher team not just by brilliant football, passing and tactical playing, by fouling, too. Michael Essien (Chelsea's top mifielder) was kicked in so many instances, he had to wobble out four minutes later. He was in my opinion, the man of the match, an intelligent player who like Diouf was both star and captain.
This was a beautiful and entertaining game and the Gods were on the side of it's theme which was friendship. Sometimes the goodnatured Ghanian fans cheered lovely playing of the Senegalese. No wonder it ended in a terse but deserved, 1-1 draw.
Walking home I reflected on the stakes. Senegal leading Group 7 of the Africa heats, followed by Tanzania, which they drew (1-1) last June and beat the East African Taifa Stars, 4-0, in March.
Taifa Stars are upcoming what with the positive guidance of Brazilian coach Marcio Maximo...but watching the Lions of Teranga giving Ghana a hard time ( a Ghana that saw the World Cup a year ago) made me think : Taifa Stars, look- out!
I meditated on the high fee of 28 pounds, plus two more pounds service charge, by Ticketmaster, the company that sells tickets. I dwelt on the fact that one could not buy these entrance papers in London's African shops, like during the Nigeria match in February. It is always about money...
I sipped beers with two German agents; they said they were from Hamburg, looking for new boys. African players are at the moment part of "a fair catch", both for rich clubs and their own destinies. Gone are the days when African football was something you equated with nonchalant animals at tourist game parks ...something in the bush... This is the era of millionaire Drogbas and Samuel Eto'os... globalisation global globalisation.
Was thirty pounds a head worth it?
It wasn't a bad night counting that we matched through the riveting, spooky, dark industrial Millwall streets thinking, this area has a history of racism and such stuff. The sight of police and security everywhere was assuring. People of all ages with families were here : old, young, male, female...
Of course the colurful spectacle wasn't shown on mainstream television. Not many people let alone Africans in London knew about it.
But for those present, one word, shone. Pleasure. Entertainment.
Fun and sports maketh the day...

African Soccer Magazine journalist, Ebenezer, who was at the match publicising the new paper which focuses solely on African soccer. Check out

With Senegalese fans. This was a few minutes before the friendly game. Culture and sports always brings people together.

Ghanian fans chant "Essien!" "Essien!" for TV pundits prior to the competition.

Publicist and photo-journalist, CNN (Charles Nimmo N-Mensah) of Was there too. A man proud and comfortable with his job.


mloyi said...

Another alternative of blogs,I have passed through this place from beggining it showed difference!
first there are fruits- healthy food for a healthy mind, wishing you will provide us fruits in other form, knowledge and truth - to set us free!
Then come an old photo of you, reminds us of the past. Wish yu will keep with this and stick to your roots and values which you are going t promote them through this blog.
African stories, Senegal vs Ghana match was well covered, this do unite all of afrikans through soccer - extend it to other fields of Afrikans life, strugle, wishes values and our dream to become united.
As a skillful jounalist, we are waiting for a skilful blog full of Information to unite us and guide our way to fu;fil our dreams.

freddy macha said...

Thanks Mloyi. Where are you based?

kifimbocheza said...

that's a really nice piece, thanks. You may like this too