Someone please tell me: Does fate have a sense of humour?

WHO, in the weirdest of fantasies, would have forecast that Ghana would be drawn to meet Uruguay a second time, in a World Cup football match?

But there it is in black and white – Ghana versus Uruguay will occur at 3 p.m. on Friday, 2 December 2022, at the Al Janoub Stadium, in Al-Wakrah, Qatar. 

The unmistakable thing about this match is that no-one seems able to talk about it without bringing up the first time Ghana and Uruguay met in a World Cup match! And for good reason: the two countries met on another Friday, 2nd of the month! Only it was July 2010. This time, too, it’s – Friday, the 2ndof the month. But now, the month is December!

Now, how on earth could a fortuitous draw produce such a loaded dice of a result? Do the Fates have a sense of humour?

Anyway, I have no doubt that this near-metaphysical aspect of the match will be interpreted as something that can “work in Ghana’s favour”! Or perhaps not? What will our many “Lotto Doctors” come up with, as they cast lots, ready to counteract what their numerous rivals in the profession of prophets have to say?

I must admit that I am fascinated by reflexions on what could have happened in Johannesburg on that day twelve years ago. Ghana would have been the first African country to reach the semi-final stage of the World Cup, in the first-ever World Cup final to take place in Africa. Do you get my drift? There would have been only two firsts left: first African country to reach the World Cup finals.

 And then, the opeimu  itself – first African country to win the World Cup and become World Champion!   Ha – numerologists, what a miss for you. The ten fingers of Luis Suares cheated you, didn’t they? Was it because the zero in 10 cancelled the Moon’s transition over Jupiter that month? 

Hahahahaha! Where will Artemis, the latest NASA spacecraft, be on Friday 2 December 2022? At 1500 hours GMT, to be precise? I am sure NASA knows but won’t be telling anyone. Indeed, maybe James Webb was sent on ahead by NASDA  so that if Artemis misfired and relayed unauthorised figures towards the  Elon Musk bunker, James Webb could re-encrypt them and divert them into a black hole from which no information can ever escape?

Hahahahaha! It seems that numerology has been killed off by NASA.  The Lotto doctors of Ghana should, for once, forget their antipathy towards the church-enabled prophets and send a unanimous protest to NASA. For how can  Ghana play Uruguay on the 2nd day of the month twice, without any reference whatsoever, to the ‘block universe’?

Anyway, we do have a ready excuse if should in case another Suares-type mishap should come our way. Coincidence is coincidence, it’s true, but this conglomeration of 2s in our relationship with Uruguay in the soccer stakes, has an aspect whose meaning may be beyond our current level of comprehension. Maybe when Einstein delivers his new “Theory of Relativity PREDATED” to us, by neutrinocast, in the year AD  3015…. [Here, my computer took over and typed: WHATWHATWHATWHAT?]

Seriously, though, I wasn’t the only person who was puzzled by what happened on Friday 2 July 2010. Many Ghanaians wept, I am told.  Even complete strangers showed sympathy towards Ghana. John Brewin of the London Guardian, for instance, wrote:

“My favourite game: Uruguay v Ghana, World Cup 2010 quarter-final

I was in the stadium to see Luis Suárez break Ghanaian hearts with his handball. It was cheating…

“Almost a decade on, the 2010 World Cup is recalled as a tournament of low-scoring matches, played out amid the distracting honk of vuvuzelas. As is usually the case, the host country showed its best and most welcoming side, rendering happy memories to visitors, only to leave a disappointing legacy for South Africa itself….

“Every tournament, though, will throw up at least one segue of incredible drama, of unlikely and since-forgotten heroes, skulduggery and adrenaline-surging plot twists. The rest of the quarter-final between Ghana and Uruguay was decent enough. The climax to the 120 minutes made the night unforgettable.

“Fine goals were scored by Sulley Muntari and Diego Forlán, but it was not a classic… Luis Suárez’s handball, and the subsequent penalty drama, meant it ended up as a tale of the bad guys running off into the sunset, chortling at their ill-gotten gains…

“Almost as inescapable as the vuvuzelas that month was the Shakira earworm “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”, which blared from speakers everywhere. 

“Ghana and Africa were to be denied by Suárez’s cynicism. Dirtier deeds done since mean his deliberate handball from Dominic Adiyiah’s goalbound header in the dying seconds of extra time, is almost the least of [Suarez’s] on-field sins. …..

“Footballers of any level would consider it, if the price of breaking sportsmanship’s codes was defeat. ….Still, if Ghana scored their spot-kick here, they would be through. Asamoah Gyan, then of Rennes, was brave enough to step up. The prize was a Cape Town semi-final against the Netherlands, who had, earlier that afternoon, defeated Brazil to widespread cheers in the press room….

“Gyan missed his penalty, crashing it against the crossbar. He had clearly been distracted by the lengthy delay as Uruguay – ludicrously – protested the innocence of Suárez….And yet, when the dust had cleared, and a penalty shootout followed, it was Gyan who chose to take Ghana’s first penalty after Forlán had stroked home the opener.  

This time, he slotted past Fernando Muslera to set up a sequence that ended with Adiyiah, denied a second time, missing his penalty. Uruguay’s Sebastián Abreu rubbed Ghana’s noses in it, scoring the decider.”

Well, that incident apparently hastened the introduction of the “VAR”  which has become standard throughout the world for even league matches. And arguments about football results have toned down.

For Ghanaians, it was one occasion when almost every single person thought the same thing: what a beast this guy Suarez is, and how incompetent is the manner of deciding what is what on the football field.  

If only we could be as unanimous in deciding that we would not allow the likes of Suarez to ruin our water-bodies for our children’s children! We hate football cheats. But we look on with little concern when a future genocide is inflicted our nation by ruthless, selfish gold-miners who do not scruple to churn up our riverbeds with excavators and bulldozers.

And, of course, our prophet-soothsayers have nothing to say about being cursed if you destroy a holy river like Tanoh Kronkron, Pra, Offin, Birem, Ankobra or Oti. 

Alas, how misplaced is our sense of values

By Cameron Duodu

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