“Na God Be Coach?”

Mon, 2 Nov 2009 Source: Opare-Asamoa, Yaw

Yaw Opare-Asamoa


O Africa, my Africa!! One wouldn’t know this is the 21st century by reading stories coming out of Africa. They tell us to preserve our culture and traditions but at what cost? The world is moving along but we seem unable to even identify where the road is. Take a look at Gabon, Niger, Guinea and the rest of them. When others elsewhere acquire some wealth, the establishment of Foundations becomes a major focus; but in our part of the world, wealth means going out to marry as many women as possible. South Africa provides examples. Yes we are all God’s children (or are we?) but sometimes one cannot but wonder. Lest I digress let me get back to what this article is about: the Satellite victory and its aftermath.

Reports and stories that have come up since the U-20 World Cup have been bizarre to say the least. Did we really have a Coach who depended on a ‘Prophet’ to decide his game plan? And just who is this ‘prophet’? I have heard of a certain ‘prophet’ in Nigeria who the President seemed to ‘love’ above all other ‘men of God’ in Ghana. Certainly the President does not have much faith in the ‘prophets’ of Ghana but that is another matter. I had no idea what this ‘prophet’ was capable of until I read reports that he was claiming the credit for the U-20 victory. But I should have known for there was a reason for the sudden ‘fame’ or ‘notoriety’ of the name T.B. Joshua on the Ghanaian airwaves.

I am not God so I pass judgement on no man but surely the reported words and deeds of this man-of-God are a bit intriguing. Did he really have a ‘You-tube’ video of his phone conversations with the Ghanaian Coach? And if I may ask, what purpose was that supposed to serve? All to the glory of God, I believe!! The story became even more ‘twisted’ when the coach came out to confirm that he actually did have conversations with this ‘prophet’ during the period of the tournament. Reactions to these revelations were not that ‘charitable’ (apologies to Kwaku Baako) and so this ‘prophet’ realized he had to do some damage control. He later came out with an interview which was posted on ghanaweb on 24th October 2009. For me I cannot reconcile that interview with the ‘You-tube’ video so I reserve my comments.

Among the many ‘prophetic feats’ reported was the fact that he told the Coach to use the skipper as the first penalty shooter. Big deal!! What about asking the Coach to bring on a substitute from the bench about 10 minutes to the end of the match; so this substitute would take the match-winning kick? It is so disappointing to see that such a historic feat by these young men has been reduced to this. What happened to preparation and discipline? But this is by no means an isolated case: reports are always rife in our domestic leagues about teams that indulge in what is popularly known as ‘ways and means’. Sadly with all our ‘ways and means’ our clubs do not perform all that well at the continental level. The last time the Black Stars won the African Cup was in 1982. Why’s that? When others are investing heavily into their football and utilizing all available scientific methods to improve their game, here we are telling the whole world that the victory had nothing to do with tenacity, resolve and skills of our boys; it was all about a certain ‘prophet’ somewhere. Hmmm!!! ‘Na God, ibi Coach?’ There was even a Nigerian team in the same tournament that did not go beyond the first round! My guess is the ‘prophet’, who is Nigerian, must have been angry with his own people. Maybe the Brazilians have no God or prophet! Or maybe God decided to listen to the Nigerian ‘prophet’ working for the Ghanaian team. Or maybe God himself is Ghanaian, right??? (apologies to the Vice-President). That must be the reason then. Yes God is Ghanaian and that is why we won. Period!! I do have some questions though: Did God just become a Ghanaian or He’s been one all along? Is God’s Ghanaian identity visible only during football competitions or He’s Ghanaian in all other areas too? I need answers for if He (God) is Ghanaian and has always been then this whole ‘Heaven-streets-of Gold’ stuff should be questioned. Is this the best God can do for his own country? Why do we find ourselves in such a sorry state? At least the Jews can explain what is going on in their land from the Bible!!

If Christians in Brazil prayed just as those in Ghana, does our victory mean we have better Christians? Or did God just decide to listen to Ghanaian Christians and not their Brazilians brothers and sisters? What about all the other times that Brazil has beaten us? Maybe God just became a Ghanaian with the advent of President Atta Mills and T.B. Joshua so we are going to see a heaven on earth. Victories all the way!! I ask the question again: what is wrong with us? Here is a case in point:

Our roads are bad; our drivers refuse to comply with traffic regulations; the DVLA is corrupt and so refuses to check the road worthiness of vehicles; the police would rather collect bribes on the road than do their job: the result is an unbelievable number of road accidents and unnecessary and avoidable deaths (the MTTU recorded 4,331 motor accidents with 353 deaths and 2,579 injured persons just from July to September 2009). Such statistics for a country the size of Ghana is frightening. One would think our lawmakers and policymakers would be concerned enough to act, but no they are busy engaging in other activities. And how do the people explain the causes of these road accidents? Witches!! Yes witches. They constantly need blood and by the way the amount of blood required increases as the year draws to a close. Now can somebody tell me what is wrong with us?

As far as I know God has never been a Coach and He certainly did not direct this T.B. Joshua to ‘micro-coach’ the Satellites. If God ever decides to coach I doubt very much that He would pick a team from Ghana. As to whether He is Ghanaian, the evidence does not support the claim. Yes we may derive some pleasure in convincing ourselves that God is not from that English-speaking ECOWAS country to the East of Ghana, but certainly God is no Ghanaian either.

Written and submitted on November 1, 2009

Columnist: Opare-Asamoa, Yaw