The night Africa cried…

Where were you when Asamoah Gyan missed! I believe that never before has a continent been so united, never before have a people jumped in blusterous excitement when the last second penalty kick was awarded to Ghana, never before have one billion people held their breath at the same time and never before have some many hearts been broken at the same time, by the same man for the same reason.
Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan (R) is consoled after the 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match.
Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan (R) is consoled after the 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match.

Where were you when Asamoah Gyan missed!

I believe that never before has a continent been so united, never before have a people jumped in blusterous excitement when the last second penalty kick was awarded to Ghana, never before have one billion people held their breath at the same time and never before have some many hearts been broken at the same time, by the same man for the same reason.

I was sitting in a bar in Kigali enjoying the match in party of strangers who had over the 90 minutes become close friends as we united in belief that for sure this time Africa’s time had come and how fitting that the first country to attain independence was going to be the first country to reach the semi finals of the world cup being held in Africa for the first time.

God! There were many firsts going to happen tonight I thought, and then…boom! Who invented the ******* cross bar that prevented our team (by the way they were not playing as Ghana but as Team Africa) deliver glory I screamed?

Our little bar exploded with expressions I will never forget, Jesus Mohammed screamed this burly guy drinking a hard drink. Oh my god! Oh my living Jesus! Ariko ma! ****! The others continued in chorus.

Service in the bar was halted as we looked at the screen in utter disbelief. Broken hearted we looked at each other and silently agreed that penalty kicks were now a formality and our team would be heading back to Accra and us to Gacuriro, Nyamirambo and other parts of Kigali.

I got home to find my wife awake still staring at the TV, for a moment I thought Amakuru was still on because that is all she watches, Shock, Shock, Shock she too had been watching the match.

She hates football and complains every time the boys and I watch the Saturday English games but that night she was converted for the 90 minutes and through extra time and penalty kicks. ‘This is why I hate football, it is too emotional…’ she said in heavy voice.

As I looked at her in disbelief, I started thinking, maybe Africa can be united, and asking myself do we use sports enough to unite our countries? Maybe our leaders should stop long speeches, big meetings and put on track suits and use sports to develop our economies and unite our countries in common purpose.

The tragedy is that life will never be the same for Gyan, I had never heard of him before the world cup began but I will never forget him. I feel sorry for him, his family, his friends and his country but he should find strength in what he achieved, Gyan united Africa in many ways he and his teammates made us proud very proud.

From your loss we learnt something important, we can find strength from our diversity and unity is possible Africa, Very Possible!

Ndizzehewe
Nkurunziza is a PR consultant based in Kigali

 

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