AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Oh Ghana Black Stars! Again? Our time in the trophy-less wilderness just got a 3 year extension yesterday courtesy our neighbors to the north, Burkina Faso. This is how they repay us for supplying them with electricity (I kid).

31 years and counting…

Last week if you mentioned Black Stars you would find some of my countrymen throw around fancy terms such as “powerhouse,” “favorites,” “the team to beat,” “the Brazil of Africa” (my least favorite) and “four-time champions.” The Black Stars haven’t won a trophy the entire time I’ve been on planet earth so as far as I’m concerned we were champions in some ancient time period when black and white TV’s ruled and having a TV in itself was probably still just a luxury for the super-rich.

Unrequited love…

See I love the Black Stars more than any team in the world, despite many disappointments. That’s love you know – unconditional and a long hangover you can’t get rid of. I mean I even released a new single, “GH Baby”, earlier than scheduled to demonstrate my love and support. I just think it’s high time we get with the times and the exigencies of today’s football reality instead of drowning in the shadows of past glory. But we’re not the only ones. Did you see all those empty seats during non-South African matches? AFCON also needs to figure out how to get on a Charlie Sheen #winning streak in this modern football era. If Africans are tuning in into the English Premiership rather than AFCON then something’s gone terribly wrong with the marketing.

Changing Times…

Watching Cape Verde essentially dominate the Black Stars in the quarter finals was great for AFCON. Gone are the days when all these new entrants and marginal soccer nations would be so easy to write off. I mean, two decades ago I would have expected we would have scored enough goals to spell Cape Verde. Ethiopia too showed up big time in the group stages. Both these sides were great to watch as much as the former was a thorn in the side of my team till we overcame them in a not-so-convincing 2-0 win. Sidebar lesson for AFCON/CAF: You’re bringing new exciting stories and audiences into the tournament. Give it as much hype as possible and get folks interested in seeing what the fuss is about.

Upsets, Referees, and Kung Fu tackles…

The Côte d’Ivoire versus Ghana final that never was and then the Nigeria versus Ghana final that never was were both great outcomes for objective viewers but a total pain in the side of those of us supporting our teams – the so-called favorites. Despite the referee being our 12th player versus the Burkinabe we still got punked in penalties. How bad does that suck eh? Well at least the referee was not as bad as the one who officiated the Togo versus Tunisia match. Lesson for Black Stars: the gap is closing between the best and the rest. Bring your A-game or get embarrassed.

All in all…

I enjoyed AFCON 2013. My heart’s not in it anymore. I will watch the final of course but you won’t catch me wasting my time on the third place match; a match which I think should be eliminated from future competitions all together. I mean, it’s a torturous waste of time for players and fans. No?

Shout out to all my folks on Twitter who made Afcon even more fun. To the person that went streaking during the Ethiopia-Burkina Faso match for a good laugh. And here’s to hoping next tournament is even better with a more exciting and less out of touch opening ceremony. No shots.

* M.anifest is an internationally acclaimed and brilliant lyricist from Accra, Ghana.

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