Cameroon’s victory over Ghana has silenced the nation. Now people are facing up to life in the real world as their dream of lifting the trophy has come to an end. Walking back from the stadium to Osu, where every other time there has been people “jubilating” (yes they use this word a lot over here) all over the place, people discussed the tactics and decided who was to blame. I saw the previous day on TV politicians defending Qiu Qiu Online John Mensah’s red card as an act he had to commit, they went into great detail as if they were the managers of the team. Such is the fever that had gripped the nation. From my own personal point of view the fever is also much better!
In truth I think this sending off coupled with a lack of quality strikers was the reason for ghana’s exit. With Mensah absent Essien was asked to play a much deeper role, and was unable to support the attack. Cameroon took their chance.
The 5p.m. start times have meant that people have struggled to get to the games in time for kick off as they rush from work. In Kumasi, the locals, unwilling to pay the price of 4 cedis (about 2 pounds) would wait until the gates were opened around twenty minutes from the end and pour in in their thousands to catch just a glimpse of the action.
When you realise that a normal working wage is just 5 cedis a day you begin to understand their predicament. The Local Organisation Committee (LOC) has come in for severe criticism for its pricing policy and distribution of tickets. Tickets were meant to be available through Banks and Post Offices, people spent hours queuing but were frequently disappointed as either tickets never materialised or there were insufficient numbers available to meet demand. Yet come match day there were people on the street happy to sell tickets above face value, especially to the foreigners who would pay the inflated prices.
For any locals getting their hand on tickets the chance of a 10 cedi profit (2 days work) gave them a dilemma. Support their national team which they do passionately, or take the money to live on. Just yesterday a friend had his rent increased from 40 cedis a month to 60 cedis (a 50% increase without any warning).
Here children often fail to complete their education as they need to support themselves by selling items on the market, as a result many lack the basic skills which we take for granted back home. Last July the currency was devalued – 10,000 old Ghana cedis now being worth 1. The people have struggled to understand the change and still talk as though they are dealing in old cedis. Thus causing great confusion to myself when I am asked to pay a grossly inflated price.
At the end of the year a presidential election is due. The people here are hoping that this will bring a change in the current unemployment system, cost of electricity (which is paid for just now but not necessarily provided) and improvements to transportation links. I would also hope that work is done on the open drains which encourage mosquitoes and increase the risk of malaria for all.
Finally the people are growing restless with the current Government especially after it was revealed that they had lost (!) millions of old cedis which were to be burnt, and the police (or “one cedis” as they are known – one cedi being the amount required to bribe them) who recently, it was revealed had captured a large amount of narcotics. The bust was under surveillance but the drugs were found to have been replaced, presumably finding their way back on to the market.
The Government has proudly supported the football team during its African Cup campaign, it is now time for it to support it’s own people.