General News Fri, 30 Jun 2006

Black Stars dodge expectant crowd at airport

Accra, June 30, GNA -- Thousands of Ghanaian soccer fans who thronged the precincts of the Arrival Hall of the Kotoka International Airport to catch a glimpse of the Black Stars who returned from the World Cup Friday evening went home distraught.

Their disappointment hinged on their inability to see the players and officials who sneaked out after a brief ceremony at the VIP lounge orchestrated by some top government officials including Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister of Information and National Orientation and Sheik I.C. Quaye, Greater Accra Regional Minister.

Some of the fans, who had trekked long distances to the Airport to spice the much publicised arrival party of the Black Stars contended themselves with dance rehearsals, which were facilitated by music provided from mounted speakers, which littered the frontage of the Arrival Hall.

Intermittently, false alarms were raised to indicate the presence of the players culminating in large numbers of people rushing from one location to the other with the hope of catching a glimpse of their heroes.

To tone down their disappointment, some anxious fans organised themselves into chorus groups and sang and danced and hoped unsuccessfully to see their idols.


At certain times, it was near pandemonium in front of the Arrival Hall as thousands of well wishers who responded to the appeal to welcome the Stars at the Airport appeared not to be factored into arrangements for the reception.

But one thing which was beautiful about the confusion was that almost everybody present was dressed in clothes carved out of the national colours of red, gold and green, with black trimming, depicting the Black Star.

Most of them hung whistles strung around ribbons in the national colours around their necks and blew them frequently to draw attention and cheers from other revellers.

Some jubilant youth entertained the disappointed fans with acrobatic displays on their motor bikes, while others resorted to "jama' - street carnival - on their return journey to add some fanfare to their disappointment.

Despite the promise of Metro Mass Transit buses conveying the fans to and from the airport, the buses were so few that most of the fans littered the roads, struggling to hike lifts back to their destinations.


A lady who identified herself as Fauzie from Nima said she and her colleagues walked the distance from their homes to the airport with the hope of being conveyed back in a Merto bus.

She said she was very disappointed because she could not see any of the players, most especially, Sulley Ali Muntari who had attracted her attention.

"I would not have come here if I had known it would not be possible for me to see the players who made us proud in Germany' David Avorgbedor, said he postponed his trip to Dzodze in the Volta Region because he wanted 91to see the players face to face' but was disappointed that despite his early arrival at the airport he could not see them.

"The arrangement was bad. Stephen Appiah should have been made to tell us a few things to soothe our nerves,' he said.

Source: GNA