The runner up to our long weekend we got a heads up to go to Accra. Because during this week there is an international break around the world, which means that the national teams are playing qualifying matches to the Africa Cup of Nations against Kenya. Ghana’s national team or as they are famously known as, the Black Stars. It is star-studded national team with players like Thomas Partey, Kwadwo Asamoah, Daniel Amartey, André and Jordan Ayew, all playing for major European teams.
Ghana’s group consist of Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and as mentioned above, Kenya. The Black Stars won their first match against Ethiopia comfortable five to zero. Then they suffered a surprisingly defeat to Kenya, and went on to draw the next two matches against Sierra Leone, before beating Ethiopia away. In the other end Kenya had not lost a match since their loss to Sierra Leone in their first leg and was leading the group with seven points, while Ghana was just behind with six point. The stage was set. The Black Stars was hosting the second leg against their previous defeaters, Kenya. The match was to be held at Accra Sports Stadium. A massive construction a capacity for over 40 000 supporters, even though it was only half full when the match started.
The six o’clock match had all the excitement a proper football match should have. Outside the gates there is absolute chaos. People pressing against each other to get in to the stadium. This is something that one just have to join in on, and after a couple of elbows here and there placed in uncomfortable places I was inside the gate and ready for match. Walking through the tunnel towards the stands I was met with rawr. The upper part of the stand was colored completely with the Ghanaian colors of green, yellow, red and black. From this stand it was a constant noice from vuvuzelas, whistles and other yells. Everyone was dancing and clapping all congregating to a massive sound of excited supporters. They continued the noice all through Kenyas national anthem, but held a respectful break during the Ghanian before once again exploding in a new hotchpotch of noice. A simple silenced blow from the referees whistle and the match was began.
The Black Stars went right to attack, but without any finishes. The ball was passed to the wing players and than a crossover into the box, but unsuccessful. The ball was cleared out and Ghana had to win the ball back, regroup and than roll up a new attack. It was really the Kenyan goalkeeper that kept the away team in the match. He saved chance, after chance, after chance and threw himself in front of the attacking Ghanaian players to avoid the goal. But after approximately 30 minutes played, the Black Stars rolled up one of their many attacks. The ball was passed to the winger, who sent a beautiful crossover to one of the Ayew brother. His shot was perfect, and headed straight towards goal, but there was only one problem, the goalkeeper. Once again he was down on the ground preventing the ball to slip behind, only this time he was unable to take control of the ball. The lose ball ended up in the feet of the Ghanaian striker. The goalie threw himself at the legs of the player, but too late. A rawr from the now 20 000 spectators shot towards the darkening sky. The Black Stars had finally managed to score the goal. There was only one problem, the goalkeeper was still on the ground and the referees was not signaling a goal, but a free kick. The goal was declared canceled.
Both teams went to break with zero goal scored. During halftime we noticed something strange. There was suddenly a lot more people around the stance and even more kept coming. The other thing we noticed was that even though that there was a break the continuing cheers and noice from the home supporters had not made plans for the break.
The second half started, and again the Black Stars stormed on offense. With continued belief that they will score the goal and win the match. And as the second half progressed, more and more people came in to the stadium. However, it was one particular group that made themselves heard when they entered. From both entries on the south short end of the stadium a sea of burgundy and black came walking inn, collecting in the middle behind the Ghanian goal. New supporter songs, vuvuzela noice and happy chairs mingled with the already loud noice from the stadiums.
Who was this group of supporters, I hear you ask. Well, it was non other than the students from University of Ghana who had made their grand entré. At this moment we kulturstudies student found out that we wanted to start the wave. So while we were seated we stretched our arms out and started yelling «eeeeeeeeeee-ey!», jumping up on the last latter. People looked around and smiled at the big group of white people (or obroni as one is called here) who was cheering when nothing really was happening. Nevertheless, we continued, determined to make the whole stadium do the wave. We noticed that more and more supporters were joining, so we kept it going. And then, we saw it. The wave was moving around the stadium, and headed back to us. By know 40 000 fans were yelling «eeeeeeeeeee-ey!». One, two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight times it went around the stadium. And it looked like the Black Stars got a new boost of confidence from it.
Suddenly the Ghanaian winger, Caleb Ekuban, saw that the Kenyan defensive line was unbalanced and decided to make a run for it. He passed one player, two players, the goalie came storming in towards him. However, Ekuban managed to fire of the shot and for the first time during the whole match there was a moment of silence. A moment as the supporters saw the ball slipp through the goalkeepers fingers and roll into the right corner. And then, a deafening explosion of noice rose from the now thronged stadium. Ghana was leading. This also meant that Ghana was currently leading their group, and Ghana was secured a spot in the African Cup of Nations, Ekuban solo-run would be the only goal scored in the match and as the referee looked at his watch and blew the whistle, marking the end of the game.
Ghana and the Black Stars was through, Ghana is now ready to play in the African Cup of Nations. Because, qualifying and doing a good performance in the cup is not only good for the team reputation and the players playing, but it is considered just as important for every Ghanian woman, man and child. Something one can really feel during an international match. All eyes are fixed on whats going on with the Black Stars.