Thursday, September 17, 2009

After The 90 Minutes

Football’s power to unite was again on showcase a couple of Sundays ago when our dear Black Stars made the whole nation proud by becoming the first African country to properly qualify for the 2010 World Cup to be held in South Africa next year. It was indeed a sight to behold as people from all corners of the country and indeed beyond, gathered in unison at the Ohene Djan Stadium to cheer the stars to victory. The ecstasy which gripped us after the final whistle was blown threw everyone into a wild frenzy of celebration. For the ninety minutes that the game lasted and a few hours afterwards, it appeared we had all forgotten about our fixation for politics and its many trivialities. There was no political affiliation, no ethnicity and no religion. There was just one group of people coming together for a common purpose-football. It’s the sort of feeling I wouldn’t mind experiencing on a daily basis and I’m sure you share my sentiments.

Fast forward to the next day and it was back to square one. The politicians had taken over the airwaves as usual and were trying to outdo one another with their endless debates. It’s amazing the amount of time politicians spend talking on the airwaves. It makes me wonder if it leaves them any time for actual planning and implementation of their many policies. If Stephen Appiah and his charges were to spend all their time gallivanting from station to station granting interviews instead of practising their tactics at the training ground, I honestly doubt we would be celebrating another World Cup appearance. The politicians definitely have a lot to learn from our footballers.

A football team is a cohesive unit made up of the defence (including the goalkeeper), the midfield and the attack. Through a series of well-worked passes, they move towards the opponent’s goal with the aim of scoring. The government on the other hand is made up of executive, legislature and judiciary units who, although separate entities, are supposed to work in tandem to ensure that the state machinery runs smoothly. But unfortunately, this is rarely the case. There’s just too much animosity between political opponents. There is a lot our politicians can learn from our footballers in terms of getting along for the sake of success or development. Ordinary citizens can also do their part to ensure that unity prevails by guarding themselves against divisive utterances and actions which only draw us back in our development efforts. At this level of our democracy, party supporters shouldn’t be clashing over issues as mundane as who controls public places of convenience. By-elections do not have to end up in bloody clashes as was witnessed in Akwatia a few weeks ago. Competent officials shouldn’t have to lose their jobs because of party affiliation. An ethnic group shouldn’t be marginalized because they are considered to be aligned to a particular political philosophy. In short, divisive politics should be nipped in the bud.

The Black Stars have proven over and over again that they wield a unique power to bring the people of Ghana together-something politics has woefully failed to achieve. They are a team of diverse ethnicities and religions yet you would think they were all part of one family. Everyone cheers no matter who scores. Whenever they appear on the field, they carry the hopes of every single Ghanaian on their shoulders. Our leaders should take a cue from this and realize that whenever they make key decisions or deliberate on issues, Ghana should be the ultimate winner. It is therefore my fervent prayer that we remain united at all times and not only when our footballers are on the field. Let me end by saying ‘Ayeeko’ to the Black Stars. May you continue to shine in all your endeavors.

This article was written by LSG Staff Writer Masahoud Codjoe.

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