iam not that important. The things am going to try... to tell you.... are more significant. about finding out. recalling. refurbishing.
That is one way of approaching this. strolling back and forth.
So here we go.
i love history. But i also love Now. So we shall travel fowards and backwards, since life is up and down, left to right, swinging, standing.
Past events are like parents. Without history there is no herstory, and without herstory there is no history. EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED TO SOMETHING ELSE.
We are halfway thru 2007. Let us try and look at time. distance. Recall some few interesting things, so far.
On February 6th i went to check out a friendly party in west London. An amicable game. A football game. If you are in USA you are thinking soccer. If you are in the rest of the world you might have heard the friendly between Ghana and Nigeria. Amusement. Fun.
Check out these guys....
Football is not just about countries or muscular males running after a piece of rubber. Any sport brings people together and hints at all sorts of stuff. Communities. Culture. Money. Psychology. Dressing up. Style.
Nigeria versus Ghana reminded me of a match i saw in Rio De Janeiro, back in 1988. Maradona was playing. Bebeto was playing. Diego Maradona was the topical player then and i and a couple of fellas were screaming. It was also called a friendly. Eyes almost popping out of our sockets, as we witnessed the mesmerising skills of the maestro. Two years earlier Argentina had won the world cup in Mexico City. Now here we were at the most famous stadium (in the world) the Maracana. A few moments into the game we became aware of not so good looks of some Brazilian fans and quickly checked our tongues. Imagine watching the great Zinedine Zidane and keeping mum.
Maradona was pure magic.
Now that is history. Brazil versus Argentina. 1988...in Rio.
remember the theme of this piece.
History is like parents.
Rewind to Feb 6th, 2007...
There is so much apprehension; beautiful apprehension. Ghana has just been in the World Cup 2006. Nigeria are well... excellent....(1996 Winners of the World Olympics in Atlanta, for example) and players from both sides are well...legends and ... exciting. While buying the ticket, one Ghanian says Michael Essien was practising alone that morning..."a dedicated and disciplined guy, thats why he is so good."
Listen and learn.
Dedication and discipline.
The match would be at Griffith Park, Brentford, and the duel is already been played on the net. Waw! Fan emails from both sides were as exciting as the match itself.
Listen to this:
"Nigeria should invade Ghana and build a stadium there.”
“Be sure that Nigeria will beat Ghana any day and any time, no matter where the match will be played. Even if you invite us to your bedroom, Nigeria will beat you there.”
"Nigeria fans should stop talking about old glory. Ghana is the best in Africa now. Believe it or not. Ghana will beat Nigeria."
Free T-shirts issued by Money Gram. take it, take it...
Wherever there is an African there is music, I heard someone saying that day. I do recall glorious faces of men, children, women, families , dancing. BBQ. Booze.
Long queque to the toilets, chants, chatting...
No goals in the first half, though. Popular culture is not just about goals. It is about people!
People need People!
When Stephen Appiah (Ghana’s captain) and Shilla Illiasu ( no. 7) missed goals the angry taunts began. It got worse when Chelsea’s Michael Essien (most expen$ive player in African football history) was injured. Accusations of softness vibrated.
“£90,000, A WEEK!”
In the second half Ghana netted four goals and the insults turned to celebration; but Nigeria’s brilliant skipper Nwankwo Kanu was not spared. As he warmed up to get in five minutes before the end, he was booed by Ghanaian fans. The verbal harassment reminded me of that Maradona incident I told you earlier. Here is the most highly decorated African player (ten awards minimum) and one of the top goal scorers in the English league, being belittled just for being on the Other Side.
Like said, this was a friendly.
There were many other friendlies that day. They were all in the media. Portugal versus Brazil at Arsenal's stadium. England versus...do you remember?Of course it was headline news. Spain.
And the most important thing? It happened. It was memorable, it was enjoyable.
In the beginning of 2008 we have Africa Cup Championships...
We will be back in July 2008 and ask the eyes. They are our police.