‘Dumsor’, water and the World Cup

The other day, Mr Frazier listened to an official of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) attempt to offer an apology to consumers about the extremely unreliable power supply in recent times.

Mr Frazier waited eagerly to hear a conclusion such as, “Countrymen, we are simply not equal to the task; we therefore resign.” Nothing of the sort was said and the official, having exhausted all the fine, fine English of PR textbooks he must have read in Legon, went away to continue enjoying his fat salary and the numerous perks. This is Ghana.
Power-cut during matches

Soon after, the European Championship final match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid would come off. The two teams had lined up for the kick-off. Families sat before their TVs. Some had chilled beer beside them. Others had soft drinks.

Then pheeww! Mr Frazier’s Ahensan Estate neighbourhood was plunged into darkness. The experience was repeated on Saturday, May 31, 2014; the day Ghana and The Netherlands engaged in a friendly in Amsterdam as part of their preparations for Brazil 2014.

The referee was about to blow the whistle for the game to start when power was ‘taken off.’ An angry Mr Frazier rang ECG to protest. The receiving official sounded pompous, “But don’t you know today is your day?” Mr Frazier had the dumsor schedule in his hand and took the ECG man on strongly. The man simply switched off his phone.

Mr Frazier reached for his battery lamp and sat stoically imagining what could have been going on in the Amsterdam match. After 90 minutes when he had reckoned the match had ended, he attempted forcing himself to sleep but he could not help thinking, “Would we have better luck from June 12 to July 21?”
Planning for matches

His mind went back to around this time in 2006 when Germany was hosting the World Cup. It was a time for the suppliers of public utilities such as electricity, water and gas to plan the minutest detail of the impact of the World Cup on demands.

For electricity they calculated 25 per cent increase in demand because TV sets would be switched on for an average of two matches per day. The water suppliers predicted 30 per cent increase because people watching two matches per day would need to flush their toilets three more times than they normally would.

That was on the premise that each viewer would drink two bottles of some drink per match. Additionally, the municipal water suppliers estimated that the brewers and the soft drink bottlers would consume 30 per cent more water for their production processes and they provided for the over-demand.
Any planning in Ghana?

Ask the glib-talking public utility suppliers in Ghana how much increased demand they are expecting from June 12 to July 21. You are lucky if for once they say they do not know. Fact is none of them has ever thought that such an occasion would need to be factored into their supply profile. They are unable to satisfy the base demand, a situation they knowledgeably say would persist to October. Therefore for some Ghanaians, Brazil 2014 is a darkness period. Nevertheless, in 2006 when the World Cup was held at a time when Ghana was experiencing one of the severest power shortages, ECG managed to keep the power on during matches that mattered to Ghana. Maybe they can do it again?

Thankfully, out of schedule, ECG left the power on yesterday when the Ahensan Estate was rostered for darkness. One of the TV stations showed the Amsterdam match and, true to type, the Black Stars behaved like “wildebeest crossing crocodile infested water in a stampede.” They appeared disorganised and showed more enthusiasm and naiveté than skill and tactics. On a night when Arjen Robben proved uncharacteristically wasteful, they got away with only 1-0 defeat.
Appeal to Coach Kwesi Appiah

From today to the kick off in Brazil, there is enough time for Coach Kwasi Appiah to rehearse tactics that would counteract the play of opponents. The Dutch play exposed the Stars in many departments of the game and a coach who knows the importance of friendly match would work immediately to plug the holes exposed in the defence.

There is some real comfort here. Black Stars are known as slow starters. In actual tournaments, however, by fluke or grit, they do not disappoint at all. This nation expects all to do their duty. The Black Stars should defend hard and cautiously.

If I were Kwasi Appiah, I would screen the Real Madrid- Atletico Madrid Match twice a day for the Black Stars from now to their last match in the group qualifiers. They should run hard and shoot hard. As for ECG, it is hoped that they will repeat their 2006 performance. Hope, they say, springs eternal.

(Author: Blame not the Darkness and Akora, available at Legon Bookshop; Kingdom Books at La; PAWA House)
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