|Dear Chippolopolo; WE ARE NOT THE SAME CLASS NOT EVEN THE SAME FLIGHT.|
So the former area champions arrived in GH after much ceremony and were promptly dispatched by the Black Stars (as if it was ever in doubt, though I was a bit disappointed by the scoreline).
The match reminded me of a grudge much I had in my child-hood at Girls-School park in La,Accra. The game was between the guys from my compound house were I still live and the guys on the other side of the park. In the build up to our game the other guys engaged in trash-talking like the Zambians did and were on our backs during the whole week till the Saturday came. I remember in the early stages I hassled one of their players got the ball back and passed to my brother who scored the first goal. I cant remember the final scoreline, we won the game but weren’t very excited by the final score.
Before the Copper bullets arrived they wanted to engage Ghana in that “Ayittey Powers-Bukom Banku” type beef, firstly they cried wolf to FIFA, wanted to land at an airport where it was not possible to land because international flights don’t land there and rehabilitation works are on-going (for a nation that lost their Copper generation or is it golden in a plane crash one would have thought they would be eager to do the right thing). The propaganda machinery of the Zambian FA were in full flight trying to make this match a grudge match when there was no need.
I am tired of describing their antics, so on to the match.
The match wasn’t vintage Black-Stars; Gyan was poor (can be excused because he wasn’t a 100% fit but Sunzu owned him on the day), the centre-back pairing of Boye and Mensah were jittery (IN FACT THE WHOLE DEFENCE MADE ME NERVOUS) and Fatau Dauda reminded me of Almunia coming out to claim crosses (It’s sad that Ghana’s number 1 is a consistent bench-warmer in SA). But a team that has players like Kwadwo Asamoah, Dede Ayew in its starting 11 and a Michael Essien (who had a massive cameo) on its bench should and must always have enough for Zambia on any day.
The first goal came when John Boye some-how managed to keep a ball from going to touch and playing it across the face of goal for the dimunitive Abdul Majid Waris to head it past a hapless Kennedy Mweene. The second goal was individual brilliance from Kwadwo Asamoah, left with all the space in the middle of the pitch, the Juventus–man(has a Zambian ever played at Juve?) lashed in an unstoppable, scorching drive that left Mweene with no chance of keeping it out. The Zambians pulled one back through Sinkala from a beautifully worked corner routine.
In the post-match interview the Zambian coach Herve Renard was much more gracious in defeat than I expected him to be, he even shared a hug with Asamoah and wished Ghana well. He spoke and acted like a man who wouldn’t mind returning to Ghana in a different capacity as head-coach in the future.
I felt a bit sorry for him, not because he looks like a movie-star but because it would have been more of a fight if the Zambian FA had been interested in keeping their house in order (i.e. arriving on time, accepting the GFA’s offer of a transit flight to Kumasi and having a decent training session on the grass at Baba Yara). If Zambia is anything like the football-loving country that Ghana is, Mr. Bwalya and Mr. Mwanza should have some serious questions to answer.
Zambia knocked us out of an African Cup (and lifted the trophy), they also beat us in a World Cup qualifier but this wasn’t enough reason for them to consider themselves equals (we have four AFCONS and a World Cup quarter-final berth under our navels).
The Zambians are working very hard to portray themselves as the most oppressed team in African football with various allegations, chiefly CAF managing to keep them out of the Confederations Cup by organizing another AFCON because apparently CAF deemed them not “fashionably-pretty” enough to represent the continent.
To my Zambian brothers, I hate to burst your bubble but I think a Zambian proverb describes it best; “YOU CAN SHARE THE SAME BED BUT NOT THE SAME DREAM” (not really a Zambian proverb but I couldn’t resist).