Kumasi: The Mecca of Ghana football

BABA YARA Kumasi boasts of the Baba Yara Sports Stadium

Sat, 25 Mar 2023 Source: etvghana.com

The Black Stars of Ghana were returning home for the first time after the World Cup.

A World Cup, that left many disappointed by the team’s performance. The Black Stars, who lost their opening game against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, however, bounced back in dramatic, nerve racking, a hard-fought win against South Korea.

This victory lifted the hopes of Ghanaians, setting a game we’ve all been waiting for, a date on the pitch against Uruguay and not in any competition but the World Cup.

The same Uruguay that denied Ghana a semi-final berth at the South Africa 2010 World Cup, with Luis Suarez using his hands to clear a goal-bound ball from the line. Asamoah Gyan missed the resultant penalty kick which was almost the last kick of the game. Guess what!! the game went to penalties and Ghana lost.

However as fate will have it, Uruguay again had the last laugh beating Ghana 2 goals to zero, a result that brought Ghana’s journey at the 2022 World Cup to an end.

Ghana finished bottom of the group just like it happened in the AFCON some 10 months apart. The embarrassment however didn’t end there, a management committee member of the Black Stars disclosed that each member of the committee received the same appearance fee as the players 100k. This got ordinary Ghanaians furious. Creating some hate for the National Team

Again, in the weeks leading to this game, the major talking point had been the low attendance of our domestic games and whether the Stars will also suffer the same. Also, the tension between the leadership of the FA and Kotoko had been intense the week before the game.

24th of March at Baba Yara welcomed Chris Hughton and his men but first, it was the official unveiling of the gaffer as the new Black Stars coach the Monday before the game. After the talk and promotions from the FA, the day was here and the question on the lips of many was, will the fanatic worshipers of football turn up at Cathedral? 30k fans turned up and these are official accounts, I say officially because the numbers I saw at Baba Yara were more than 30k. Once again the people of Kumasi did not disappoint and confirmed Kumasi as the Mecca of football in Ghana.

11-year-old Abudakar at the Baba Yara Stadium watching the Black Stars after School.

The game itself even though didn’t match the enthusiasm of Ghanaians in the stands shouting, singing, and cheering on the team, but as Chris Hughton had promised that his team will be as practical as possible because for him a win was more important and off course when his team came up against Angola the over 30k fans had to wait for a 90+6 minute winner from Antonio Semeyor to send the whole stadium into a frenzy.

The previous game before this was the World Cup play-off against Nigeria and it had record impressive numbers. For Baba Yara, it’s also not only about the numbers but the team hardly loses a game at the venue, the last time the Black stars lost a game there was 23 years ago when South Africa beat us by a goal to zero. Indeed Kumasi is the mecca of football in Ghana.

Source: etvghana.com