By Dr. Sam Doku
In addition to its unemployment and poverty woes, Ghana, in recent weeks, has been rocked by a scandal far enormous, devious, and mind-boggling. It’s a corruption and bribery scandal involving some of that country’s judges.
The judges, men and women, who were held in high esteem because they were previously deemed to be incorruptible, fearless, and irreproachable are now at the mercy of the same laws they interpreted in incarcerating or exonerating the accused.
Judges are seen as the final bastion of Ghanaian pride because of their supposedly profound sense of integrity and superior brains. Since Ghana’s independence, they have interpreted and upheld the laws, even as they create their own that serve as precedents for other cases.
Recently, however, the invincible character trait accorded judges has been shattered by the avarice of a few of them, and it has stained the realm of flawlessness into which the characters of judges were enshrined previously.
The entanglement of judges in a bribery and corruption scandal seems to affirm the proclamation of Harry Johnston, 19th century colonist, who once declared unabashedly that when God drove Satan from Heaven, he went and settled in Africa. For, what else could it have been when judges, who enjoy a life-time-appointment status denigrate their reverent positions in society by taking bribes to soil their reputation.
Satan has the power to impair rightful judgment, and the judges could have fallen prey to the devious machinations of the devil in scenarios fifth graders could have made better decisions.
In spite of the apparent predicament of the judges, poverty, and high unemployment rate among university graduates in Ghana, soccer or football, as the Brits call it, provides an avenue of hope for them that one day all will be well.
Thus, soccer in Ghana is revered and given a cult-like treatment. For that reason, when Ghana plays against Canada at famed Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington, DC on Tuesday, October 13, although an exhibition match, Ghanaians will watch it with feverish expectancy.
While Canada is known for its ice hockey prowess, Ghana is revered as a soccer powerhouse, especially in Africa and Asia, where the mention of the Black Stars sends chills down the spines of many. Although Canada is not regarded as a great soccer nation, it nonetheless has some talented stars of which Edwin Rosario, captain of the side, is just one of their many talents.
However, Ghana abounds in much more soccer talents, and when they face Canada on October 13, their teeming admirers and supporters will expect them to unfold their usual brand of scintillating soccer to mollify the nerves of their countrymen.
Under the auspices of their current coach, Avram Grant, formerly of Chelsea fame, the Black Stars won the runners-up spot after falling narrowly to Ivory Coast in the finals of the African Cup of Nations earlier this year in a match that was resolved only after shoot outs.
Some of the stars expected to face Canada will be David Accam of Chicago Fire, Harrison Afful of the Columbus Crew, Andre Ayew of Swansea, Christian Atsu of Chelsea but now on loan at Bournemouth, Jordan Ayew of Aston Villa, Afriyie Acquah of Torino, Mubarak Wakaso of Las Palmas, Majid Waris of Lorient, Agyemang Badu of Udinese, and Baba Rahman of Chelsea. John Boye who plays in Turkey, Jonathan Mensah who plays in France, and goalkeeper Razak Ibrahim who plies his trade in Spain will also make the Canadians feel their presence on the pitch.
These talents will grace RFK with their gift of artistry and improvisation to announce their intent of qualifying to play yet again in the World Cup in Qatar in 2018.
In 2010 in South Africa, the Black Stars were just a penalty kick away from establishing themselves as the first African team to make it to the semi-finals, since the inception of the World Cup tournament in 1930, but Asamoah Gyan’s penalty kick missed its intended target.
The Black Stars have come a long way from that miss, and they are looking to make amends in Qatar three years from now. In their last match against Rwanda earlier this month, Gyan was on the injury list, so he did not play. If he has recovered, Gyan, who now plies his trade in China, will lead the Black Stars against Canada. Come and watch them take on the Canadians.