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Letter From The President: A chance to be proud again

Fri, 30 Jun 2006 Source: J. A. Fukuor/Daily Dispatch

Countrymen and women, loyalists and opponents,
it is with great joy and pride that I write this letter today – a few hours after the Black Stars were painfully eliminated from the World Cup by the almighty Brazil. Perhaps, I should be sad. But I am not. I am not moping around with a victim’s mentally: “we were robbed because we are black”; or “all the goals were ‘oxide’”; or “the referee wanted Ronaldo’s jersey”. Crap!
We lost to the best team in the world by a mere three goals to nil. There is nothing to be ashamed of or sad about. Our team did not disgrace us and they gave a good account of themselves. World wide, they made the headlines by beating the much fancied squads from the Czech Republic and the United States. Even in defeat our players captured many hearts and minds with their skillful play. In the end, Brazil proved their superiority over us and they won by what I consider to be a very respectable scoreline. They could have banged in more goals, you know.
I never gave the squad a dog’s chance to go beyond the group stages of the World Cup – until I saw them play against Italy. They lost that match but I felt proud that they were no pushovers. Then came that momentous day when they defied the experts and walloped the Czech Republic. That victory transported me back to those days when our football team was one of the most fearsome, battle-ready soccer war machines on the continent of Africa. Those were the days when most countries in Africa – Cameroon, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, name them – will shudder at the mere prospect of playing us even on their home turfs. Unfortunately, things changed and we were ushered into a period when countries like Rwanda and Madagascar would throw a party whenever they were going to be pitched against us. I lost confidence in the national football team during this period.
But thanks to the outstanding performance of our squad in Germany, I have regained confidence in the national team. I am now left in no doubt that we are still world beaters and with adequate preparation and proper planning we can one day win the World Cup. I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way – just look at the hundreds of people who took to the streets in jubilation even after the national team was eliminated from the tournament.
The World Cup did not only boost our confidence in football. What delights me most is the fact that it has sparked a new sense of nationalism in almost every citizen of Sikaman. Everywhere you go people are waving our national colours or wearing them in different designs and shapes. I have not seen so much red, yellow and green in my life. People are professing love for the nation at every opportunity and there seems to be an overwhelming sense of pride in being citizens of the land.
All this has got me thinking seriously about the concept of nationalism – the sense of pride one feels in being associated with a particular nation. Perhaps this definition is not close enough to the textbook definitions of concept but that’s what I believe nationalism is all about. Going by my unique definition, I would say that I had never seen so much nationalism being displayed by so many Sikaman citizens at any given time since independence until our team started showing the stuff they are made of at the World Cup tournament. Like me, many of our citizens lost interest in football because of the abysmal performance of our national team over the past couple of decades. Not only that. Many also lost confidence in the nation itself. It appears that the nation’s progress and its fortunes on the football pitched were linked in some way. “The longer our stars failed to shine, the more we retrogressed as a nation”, I heard someone say on radio. Now that the stars have started shining again (on the world stage) many have become quite optimistic that the nation itself will “put on its best cloth”. In other words, the retrogression will stop.
Am not quite sure of this. It takes more to build a nation than to prepare a football team to perform well at the World Cup. But one thing is for sure. There is the need to ride on the current wave of nationalism to take our country where it ought to be. We don’t belong in the league of the world’s poorest nations – just as we don’t belong in the ranks of the world’s football minnows. I believe strongly that we can sustain the current level of nationalism in the country and use it to propel our country a few steps forward. Luckily, Republic Day is just around the corner. We should use it to let people know that what we are currently experiencing should not be allowed to die off. The flags should keep flying in all the many different places. They should remind us that (like the World Cup) we can get our flag flying proudly in any part of the world in any sphere of life – in science and technology, commerce, diplomacy , learning etc. – if we all decide to do ‘something small’ in the spirit of nationalism to propel the nation forward. I am not suggesting that nationalism will turn our country into a global super power. But I believe that if we look on our flag and decide to do our best to brighten our individual corners, our nation will stand up proudly to be counted when it matters most. And what a proud moment that would be for us all.
Excellently yours
J. A. Fukuor fukuor@gmail.com

Countrymen and women, loyalists and opponents,
it is with great joy and pride that I write this letter today – a few hours after the Black Stars were painfully eliminated from the World Cup by the almighty Brazil. Perhaps, I should be sad. But I am not. I am not moping around with a victim’s mentally: “we were robbed because we are black”; or “all the goals were ‘oxide’”; or “the referee wanted Ronaldo’s jersey”. Crap!
We lost to the best team in the world by a mere three goals to nil. There is nothing to be ashamed of or sad about. Our team did not disgrace us and they gave a good account of themselves. World wide, they made the headlines by beating the much fancied squads from the Czech Republic and the United States. Even in defeat our players captured many hearts and minds with their skillful play. In the end, Brazil proved their superiority over us and they won by what I consider to be a very respectable scoreline. They could have banged in more goals, you know.
I never gave the squad a dog’s chance to go beyond the group stages of the World Cup – until I saw them play against Italy. They lost that match but I felt proud that they were no pushovers. Then came that momentous day when they defied the experts and walloped the Czech Republic. That victory transported me back to those days when our football team was one of the most fearsome, battle-ready soccer war machines on the continent of Africa. Those were the days when most countries in Africa – Cameroon, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, name them – will shudder at the mere prospect of playing us even on their home turfs. Unfortunately, things changed and we were ushered into a period when countries like Rwanda and Madagascar would throw a party whenever they were going to be pitched against us. I lost confidence in the national football team during this period.
But thanks to the outstanding performance of our squad in Germany, I have regained confidence in the national team. I am now left in no doubt that we are still world beaters and with adequate preparation and proper planning we can one day win the World Cup. I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way – just look at the hundreds of people who took to the streets in jubilation even after the national team was eliminated from the tournament.
The World Cup did not only boost our confidence in football. What delights me most is the fact that it has sparked a new sense of nationalism in almost every citizen of Sikaman. Everywhere you go people are waving our national colours or wearing them in different designs and shapes. I have not seen so much red, yellow and green in my life. People are professing love for the nation at every opportunity and there seems to be an overwhelming sense of pride in being citizens of the land.
All this has got me thinking seriously about the concept of nationalism – the sense of pride one feels in being associated with a particular nation. Perhaps this definition is not close enough to the textbook definitions of concept but that’s what I believe nationalism is all about. Going by my unique definition, I would say that I had never seen so much nationalism being displayed by so many Sikaman citizens at any given time since independence until our team started showing the stuff they are made of at the World Cup tournament. Like me, many of our citizens lost interest in football because of the abysmal performance of our national team over the past couple of decades. Not only that. Many also lost confidence in the nation itself. It appears that the nation’s progress and its fortunes on the football pitched were linked in some way. “The longer our stars failed to shine, the more we retrogressed as a nation”, I heard someone say on radio. Now that the stars have started shining again (on the world stage) many have become quite optimistic that the nation itself will “put on its best cloth”. In other words, the retrogression will stop.
Am not quite sure of this. It takes more to build a nation than to prepare a football team to perform well at the World Cup. But one thing is for sure. There is the need to ride on the current wave of nationalism to take our country where it ought to be. We don’t belong in the league of the world’s poorest nations – just as we don’t belong in the ranks of the world’s football minnows. I believe strongly that we can sustain the current level of nationalism in the country and use it to propel our country a few steps forward. Luckily, Republic Day is just around the corner. We should use it to let people know that what we are currently experiencing should not be allowed to die off. The flags should keep flying in all the many different places. They should remind us that (like the World Cup) we can get our flag flying proudly in any part of the world in any sphere of life – in science and technology, commerce, diplomacy , learning etc. – if we all decide to do ‘something small’ in the spirit of nationalism to propel the nation forward. I am not suggesting that nationalism will turn our country into a global super power. But I believe that if we look on our flag and decide to do our best to brighten our individual corners, our nation will stand up proudly to be counted when it matters most. And what a proud moment that would be for us all.
Excellently yours
J. A. Fukuor fukuor@gmail.com

Columnist: J. A. Fukuor/Daily Dispatch