Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tainting the Beautiful Game

The past weekend was a harrowing one for African football and Africa in general. Just to think it was all supposed to be about  the mounting excitement in anticipation of the glorious Africa Cup of Nations. 

Yet, last Friday, disaster struck with  the tragic attack by gunmen on the Togolese national football. Three people were left dead and several wounded. Some onlookers were learning for the first time about the existence of the volatile Angolan enclave of Cabinda while others (I'm sure)  were discovering that 'Angola' did not only refer to the Louisiana State Penitentiary

 Togo Team Captain Emmanuel Adebayor 

Source: The Gunning Hawk  

I felt particularly saddened for a number of reasons. Aside from the needless loss of life there is the fact that Togo is our neighbour. Also, I can't help but feel bad for my Angolan friends who were excited that a positive spotlight  was to be shone on their re-emergent and rebuilt  nation. Finally, (completely frivolously), I have a huge crush on the young 6 ft 3  captain of the Togo national team Emmanuel Adebayor who remains *divine* despite his antics on the field.
    The future father of my children Adebayor in a misunderstanding with his former Arsenal teammate  van Persie
    Source: thisislondon.co.uk

    My entire weekend was spent following whether Togo would stay on BBC and Twitter. It has now become apparent that Togo is out of the Africa Cup of Nations  but there are a couple of issues that are still bothering me:

    Why were Togo traveling by road despite the  supposedly well-documented insurgency problem in the area?

    • The English Premier League and Ownership
    For years some English Premiership club bosses have disliked the Africa Cup of Nations because it involves releasing 'their' African players for national duties in the middle of the football season. After the  tragic incident , the manager of the premiership team Hull City Phil Brown made the shamelessly opportunisitic move of the weekend by demanding that 'his' players should come back 'home' to England. He was not the only one. This got me really confused. Don't these players have national allegiances first and foremost?

    Secondly, do the clubs actually own these players body and soul? Is English premiership football akin to slavery? Extremely well-paid slavery that is. Luckily, other managers such as Arsene Wenger of (my) Arsenal have alot more perspective as well as respect for African football.

    The delightful Phil Brown of Hull City is also one of the people making the curious link that the attacks in Angola somehow have implications for World Cup security in South Africa. I could have sworn that there were 1000s of miles between Cabinda and South Africa but I may be wrong.

      Mr. Phil Brown of Hull City himself

    Source: thisislondon.co.uk

    If we were to equate events in Cabinda to security fears in South Africa, then that would mean the greatest threat would be from insurgents operating in the Republic of South Africa.  Of course the only separatists existing in South Africa are White supermactists agitating for a self-governing white homeland. Fascinating. Hopefully they don't have plans to taint The Beautiful Game.


    Lady Jaye said...

    Don't worry - if they try anything, we'll just send dome of the villains from criminal minds after them. That should take care of things!

    Abena Serwaa said...

    Hehehehe interesting one Lady Jaye..Wouldn't it be great if they were available?

    Raine said...

    Very sad indeed! And I just found out the attack actually didn't happen in Angola?? Either way, still sad.

    Side note- is it me or does your crush look like he is getting ready to stomp the living daylight out of the guy on the ground??

    novisi said...

    all i can say is: terrible!!!

    Nana Yaa Boatemaa said...

    Abena, I share your sentiments on this. The attack on the Togo team has definitely put a damper on the excitement surrounding the African Cup. It's so unfortunate.

    Maya Mame said...

    Oh Abena Serwaa, I didn't think I could like you more but to hear that you're a fellow Gunner just made me do just that!

    Apart from being very sad, it is so typical that something like this would happen when Africa is finally seen in a positive light, but more annoyingly, it is typical that links would be made to South Africa from this!

    Then again, if George W Bush thinks Africa is a country, I guess we shouldn't be surprised by others thinking and talking in a similarly pea-brained manner.

    Abena Serwaa said...

    @Raine The attack did happen in Angola since Cabinda is Angolan territory even though it is not attached to the mainland. Alas, my Adebayor did stomp all over his former best friend Robin van Persie. I've seriously been contemplating the 'anger management issues' my kids may inherit from their dad but I suppose it all boils down to nature versus nurture!

    Abena Serwaa said...

    @Novisi indeed terrible! Imagine this had happened in Ghana in 2008..btw, good to see u back in the blogosphere.

    Abena Serwaa said...

    @Nana Yaa, indeed..even after the games have started the world's focus is still on the attacks and rightfully so. BTW, Even though I'm a football fan-atic I've not caught most of games but have heard some strange results.

    Abena Serwaa said...

    @Maya Mame, In a Ghana dominated by blues and red devils, I'm delighted to hear u're a Gunner! *Yay* Good taste. U're spot on (of course) about the country of Africa phenomenon. I also think the international media is perpetuating the stereotype and feeding the 'unsafe country of Africa' notion.