Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Must-win game

On Sunday, a football team wearing red and white lost to their bitter rivals in a game marred by poor officiating and controversy. Immediately after the game, fans were calling for the coaches’ head and were likely to get him sacked. I’m not talking about NC State playing UNC but the Asante Kotoko loss to Accra Hearts. Coach Ebo, who made an appearance in this blog for the Ghana-Sudan game, only became the technical manager of Kotoko earlier this year, but the Accra fans that I know (Lisa, our cook, and Richard and Kofi, our caretakers) say that Kotoko fires any coach who can’t beat Accra. They take their football seriously around here.
I had fully intended to go the game. I got back from a Pentecostal wedding (more on that in another post) and took Richard with me to go get tickets a couple minutes after the game started. Unfortunately, not only were they sold out, but they had locked the gates. One guy showed us that he had a 15-cedi ticket—only $10, but a lot of money for someone here—but he wasn’t being let in. I read in the paper earlier today that at the Kotoko-Hearts game last year, four people were trampled to death, so I’m thinking it was a good thing I didn’t get in.

After wandering around the outside of the stadium for a bit to buy souvenirs, I headed home to watch the game on TV with Richard and Kofi. When I arrived, it was halftime and Accra had had two goals disallowed, one for a handball and the other for offsides. Given the nature of the rivalry, things were going to get ugly if the game ended in a draw or, heaven forbid, a Kotoko win. Luckily for those of who live near the stadium, Accra scored in the second half and won the game 1-0.

After the game, I joined Lisa, Kofi, and Richard to watch people pass the driveway. Where we live is as close to the stadium as the high-end parking at Carter-Finley. I was surprised that there wasn’t more celebrating as people walked past. The group with me had fun taunting the Kotoko fans by saying that the game should have been 4-nil.

On Monday morning, riding in the car with Akmed to go visit the schools, the radio announcer said that Ebo resigned that morning. He had been head coach of Kotoko for less than three months. Can you imagine if, in the US, we decided to get rid of coaches after they lose their first game to their main rival? At State, we might end up sacking three basketball coaches a year.

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