Ghana-Portugal, a parenthesis of hope in a ruined country

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Fans watch the Ghana-Portugal match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, in a district of Accra, Ghana, November 24, 2022.

The Ghanaians really needed a moment of football. Gather by the thousands in front of the screens of bars and fanzones, take out the red, green, black and yellow flags put away after a mediocre African Cup of Nations (CAN), forget the time of a match the vertiginous plunge of their economy and inflation, which is close to 40%, to finally see their Blacks Stars shine on the lawn of Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar.

In the modest spans of the fanzone of Kanda, a district of Accra, we are worried about the ferocious Portuguese selection, but hope is there. The Black Stars can count on their figurehead, André Ayew, and their versatile star, Thomas Partey, but also on a 22-year-old rising star, Mohammed Kudus. The Serb Milovan Rajevac was thanked after the CAN and replaced by a German-Ghanaian coach, Otto Addo, himself a former national team, with fifteen selections on the clock.

The forecasts are going well, even among the soldiers in uniform, who were brought in earlier from the nearby immigration services. The seats, too rare, are already filled at 3 p.m., and when the match begins it is difficult to find a free place on the hot asphalt.

Read also: World Cup 2022: Portugal beat Ghana with record Cristiano Ronaldo

“There is only football left to unite”

The first period started gently, despite a few chances for Cristiano Ronaldo, which made the public scream and the drums beat like a huge heart. Timorous, the Ghanaian team did not touch a single ball in the opposing area during the first forty-five minutes. “It’s normal that they are intimidated, we have the youngest selection in the tournament, tempers Thomas Kassi, fresh out of high school, who managed to find a plastic chair. Almost all of our starters are learning about the World Cup right now, and the Portuguese are tough guys. »

The goalscorers miss several chances, sometimes seeming embarrassed to receive the ball. But the Ghanaian team is well organised, and their defense is solid at the moment. When the first half ends in a draw, the fans breathe. For once, almost no one drinks. The fanzone is sponsored by Club, the local beer, and the price of a 33 cl glass has been reduced to 5 cedis (0.33 euro) for the occasion. But this still represents a third of the minimum daily wage, and in Accra the atmosphere is not on the expense. “With the economic crisis we are going through these days, the least we can say is that it’s not a party every day, explains one of the few young women in the front row, Roberta Modin. There is nothing left but football to reunite, and feel the pride of being Ghanaians again. »

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