K1: Koo, I feel as if I was reliving the past! For on Saturday, the 1st of February 2014, I shall perforce go through exactly the selfsame emotions that afflicted me 32 years ago, almost to the day –the 19th of March 1982.
K2: Hey, that was a long time ago!
Yes, but the event I am talking about was a football match, and in football, your emotions have a very narrow range to move in. They oscillate from the letter ‘F’ straight to the letters ‘J’ or ‘S’..
The letter ‘F’ representing?
Fear, of course!
– And the letter ‘J’?
Fear is a noun. So its counterpart cannot be an adjective?
Ok! I know: Jubilation?
I would have used the word Joy myself – it’s short and crisp.
– Ok, so how does March 1982 come into the equation?
On that day too, Ghana met Libya– in the African championship final. But that was in the Libyan capital, Tripoli!
Oh, I see what you are saying.
Yes, here we are again. Who would have thought that there being 54 nations in Africa, two countries – Ghana and Libya – would fight for the football championship of Africa, twice in one generation? It’s a strange feeling, being in that position again. But do you know that strange as it sounds, in 1982, there were Ghanaians who thought that Libya was about to colonize Ghana!
What? Libya colonize Ghana?
Yes. You will never believe what happened to me, fili-fili! Shortly before the date of the match, I took two young ladies who were working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to lunch….
Yieeee! Koo, you and young ladies!
I shall ignore that. We’d drunk quite a few bottles of beer when one of them asked me, in a mocking tone: “So Mr Big Journalist, what are you going to do about Libya?”
“Libya”? I asked in surprise. “What about Libya?”
“You’re just going to sit down and watch whilst Gaddafi takes over Ghana!” she exclaimed. Scornfully.
“Nonsense,” I answered. “Ghanaians are a proud people and no-one is going to allow Libya to dictate to him or her.”
She said, “You wait. You know we are to play Libya in the African Football Cup Final soon, don’t you?”
“Yes,” I replied.
”Well, that will be the sign. We will deliberately lose that match,” she said.
“Bollocks!” I exploded. “You mean the Black Stars will throw a match on the orders of a politician? You’re crazy!”
But privately, I was worried. She was working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after all. Girls like those are the ones who processed information. They read over their bosses’ letters – and cables – before dispatching them! What did she know that I didn’t?
Koo, the young lady went on: “You wait and see. We shall allow the Libyans to win. And then will come the second sign – the most unkindest cut of all.”
Koo. When she became animated, her beauty multiplied qualitatively. I was burning with desire for her. But I managed to ask her, “What do you mean by ‘the most unkindest cut of all’? You told me you read Political Science at Legon, and now you’re quoting from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar?”
“Kai!” she retorted with a dismissive smile. “Julius Caesar? I read it in lower sixth, not Legon!” She went on: “After we have allowed them to beat us at football, Gaddafi will send a horde of wansams (untrained circumcision surgeons) to Ghana, to circumcise all those of you who have not been circumcised! In the name of jihad!” After a slight pause, she looked me in the eye and winked, “I know you are an Akan man. So I entertain real fears for you! I hope you had yours cut when you were still young? I believe it is extremely painful for an adult male to have it done to him?”
Koo, as I was trying to absorb this incredibly ballistic bit of information, she threw that beautiful head of hers back again and laughed and laughed and laughed. The other girl joined her and they laughed as if they had been infected with genes from laughing jackals. What indelicacy! These were very irreverent girls, I thought. In desperation, I broke into laughter myself – so loudly that everyone in the restaurant stared at me.
The talkative young lady then made a bet with me on the outcome of the coming football match. Koo, I cannot disclose details of the terms of the wager to you. I shall leave that to your imagination. Clue: remember that there were two of them!! Koo, Ghana did beat Libya in that CAF l cup final of 19 March 1982. However, the result was arrived at in such a tortuous manner that at one stage, I really feared that our boys were throwing the match. The full 90 minutes of play yielded a 1-1 draw. Extra time came and went – but produced no goals, either. I began to sweat profusely as the game then went into penalties. Ghana just managed to win the penalty shoot-out by scraping 6 goals to Libya’s 5. Final result: 7-6 GHANA!
Koo, had we lost, I am sure those two young ladies would have run me out of town! For the fear of the knife is the beginning of wisdom!! I mean, who can contemplate with equanimity, a compulsory appointment with a foreskin-excisor from Tripoli? But if we had lost that day, I would have feared that such a happening was clearly on my agenda!