Ghana is playing in the African Cup. It is like the World Cup, but just for Africa Just in case Africa Cup wasn’t enough to give it away. Tonight Ghana played Tunisia in the first knockout round – the quarterfinals. I predicted before the game started that Ghana would win 2-1.
Guess I am psychic. SPOILER ALERT. Ha. I was really excited for tonight’s game. I haven’t actually watched a soccer match on TV since maybe 2004 and I can’t remember ever watching a game with lots of people. I knew this was going to be a serious cultural experience that I couldn’t pass up. So I accompanied my brother to Berlin (how fitting since the only other countries I have lived in have both been extreme soccer states, the other one being Germany). We found some good seats and waited for the match to start. Luckily, all my Ghanaians friends were at Berlin tonight. There was that one guy that works at the other bank, Shortie – my cousin, my other brother, the bartenders, and my new friend at the Immigration office. Just in case they weren’t enough to enjoy the game with, there were an additional 75+ people at the spot (it was really really crowded). I was of course the only white person and besides the other bartender and her friend. I was the only woman in attendance. I didn’t get hassled too much, so that was wonderful. After all everyone was there to watch the game not the white person.
I did have to tell some Ghanaians to back off my bubble though. For some reason they don’t stand on top of each other unless it is me. And then they are all up in my grill. Word.
Anyway, so the game starts and two guys bust out vuvuzelas. Thanks South Africa…Awesome. We score really quickly. I was not expecting the reaction that the crowd had. It was like the ground suddenly exploded and everyone was lifted to their feet. Everyone was screaming and running around. GOOOOOOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL. Tunisia gets a goal, boo. Then it gets intense. Why does soccer have so many freaking overtimes?!! I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. The score is tied and we do go into overtime. Then BAM. SCORE. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL. It was incredible, this time people were running around waving chairs over their heads, beating their chests, screaming – duh, and a number of other questionable things that they might regret in the morning. It was electric, terrifying, and spectacular all at the same time. Then we had to wait out another freaking overtime in order to be declared victorious. Oh and at some point the TV feed went out. Don’t get me started on their reaction to this…
It was interesting though because around the second half time the Tunisians started getting super aggressive. I thought I was watching hockey for a few minutes. One Tunisian actually kicked a Ghanaian in the chest, square in the chest. WTF? Oh I was irate. So was everyone else. A Tunisian got a red card and all of Ghana cheered like they wanted to be heard in space.
So we win and then things start getting scary. Everyone starts taking shots immediately, it gets really crazy. Really fast. The whole town goes batshit crazy. The roads were full of people half naked, sometimes fully naked, running around singing, chanting, and whistling. I have never seen anything like it before. It was incredibly scary though. I wanted to get home so bad. I didn’t feel safe – probably the first time I felt this way in Ghana. I don’t want to imagine what my town will be like if we go all the way. Makes me scared of the elections this year too.
It is great to see Ghana celebrating together though. This is a big deal here and it is wonderful that I am able to be a part of it. Just as long as I don’t get trampled.