On Saturday June 26th Ghana’s National team played against team USA, a Second Round World Cup match-up, and the world was watching… even the USA. As I walked through the streets of Oakland, Ca, I overheard a man say something about how America will only appreciate the USA’s soccer team while the spotlight is on the World Cup, while Ghana’s National team will forever be legends in Ghana. And that was before Ghana won.
Ghana scored early. They dominated the USA team throughout. And in the end, the team sporting one Black star on their jersey’s punched an extra-time goal in the net to send the team from the USA, and all of its 50 stars packing. It was a complete game on Ghana’s part. It was a valiant effort on team USA’s part. It was a game that I’m sure the entire continent of Africa can appreciate on some level, and a game I could sincerely appreciate on all levels.
As Ghana advanced to the Semi- Final round, they represented more than just the last team from an African Nation remaining in the tournament: they represented the 1st free African Nation. They represented Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah. They represented the ancestors of African-American that had went through the door of no return in the Elmina slave dungeon. They represented… hey, they just straight –up got out there and represented.
I went to Ghana when I was 17, it was my first trip outside of the United States. And back then, for all I knew, certain streets in the capitol city of Accra could have been avenues in Atlanta, Georgia. Alright, so I’m being facetious; but the connection between the way of life I saw in Accra, and my life America ran deeper than our common skin tone.
The deep faith in Christianity, the superficial obsession with image, and evidence of rap music’s influence were all embedded in the culture! Oh, and of course the obvious cultural connection: sports!
The entire time I was in Ghana, I can recall people listening to soccer on the radio, and that wasn’t even during the World Cup. And my random eavesdropping is evidence that people in American are watching and talking about soccer.
Well, they were, before team USA lost. Now, I wonder how many World Cup related conversations will be overheard on the streets of the United States? One thing is for sure, those streets in Accra that I thought looked like Atlanta- for years to come, those streets will resonate with conversations of how Ghana’s legendary 2010 World Cup team went down to South Africa and represented.