by Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
When I first heard that the Black Stars were going to play their next friendly match with Saudi Arabia on September 11, 2007, in Saudi Arabia, someway somehow I just felt history will be made.
As to how this history will be made and the form it will take I couldn’t convince myself.
What I was sure of however is that all the officials in the Ghana Football Association (GFA) who took this decision by selecting this date, this venue and this country for the Ghana Black Stars as a warm up for the African Cup of Nations slated for January 2008 should have either been very courageous or didn’t care a hoot about international politics.
I would have thought that since September 11 represents the darkest date in modern history after which the world today is not what it was before September 11, 2001, the GFA might just have stayed clear from this date.
Significantly, Osama appeared in his latest video some hours before the friendly match in what has become his anniversary ritual and praised the day, whiles seeking to recruit fresh so-called Jihadists into his begotten Al Qaeda.
As it were, we are told that the Black Stars could not fly early to Saudi Arabia and for that matter may have suffered jet lag which accounted for their abysmal performance. I have still not heard any convincing explanation as to why the match could not have been rescheduled under the circumstance. Maybe our GFA officials liked this date so much that they nevertheless took the risk.
Well, since September 11 is a historical day, history was again made. Saudi Arabia trounced Ghana by 5 goals to nil. This goes into our records as one of the three worst defeats the Black Stars have ever suffered.
The earlier were an 8-2 defeat at the hands of Brazil and a 6-1 defeat at the hands of Germany. I am sure in these earlier defeats, we could still keep our heads quite up because everybody knows the footballing pedigree of Brazil and Germany but for this latest record, I am not sure how many life support machines will be able to salvage the pride of Ghanaians.
There is another dimension worth considering, is it possible that there might have been a genuine attempt to cleanse September 11 and not to represent that day as a day that only represents terrorism and evil.
I have always asked why the United States will always seek to glorify September 11 and always prefix major foreign policy issues with “since September11.” Might this not be a glorification of the day, which itself makes the terrorists feel very much accomplished, which is the last thing the civilized world should want to achieve?
Might this phenomenon be going on because it entrenches some politicians in America and also enriches their pockets from the wars that are being fought in the name of fighting terrorism? Again, what is there in a date? I know of some lovely people born on September 11 and it is important that we do not demonize dates especially when people have no choice which date they will come into this world.
Another factor worthy of consideration is; may the Saudi’s who have obviously never endorsed the actions of their own royal son- Osama, be engaged on major international positive endeavors on September 11 so that they will have some positive light on their great nation rather than sit and do nothing as they receive bad press the whole of every September 11 due to the abominable acts of a renegade son. And if really this is the case, then what a massive result to get by trouncing a World Cup Nation Ghana by 5 goals to nil.
As the pontifications continue on this historical friendly match, it would be interesting to know, maybe from Osama’s next video release whether he watched the Black Stars’ defeat at the hands of his home nation on a date he cherishes so much. And who knows, this video release might just be the one to give clues to Osama’s eventual arrest.
Long live Ghana! Long live Saudi Arabia!!
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (Former President, NUGS)