It was a game between Nigeria and Denmark. It was the second round (1/16th) stage of the World Cup. A win will see Nigeria emulate the grand achievement of Cameroon of making it to the quarter finals of the tournament. The good run of the Super Eagles gave many Africans the confidence and hope of them going far (Nigeria had beaten Bulgaria by a goal to nil in their last game. The Bulgarian team had the charismatic Hristo Stoickhov in their line-up).
That game with Denmark happened to be the last game for Nigeria as they succumbed to a 4-1 defeat. Peter Moller, Brian Laudrup, Ebb Sand, Michael Laudrup and Thomas Helveg put the Super Eagles, led by coach Bora Militinovic to the sword. They, however, pulled one back as consolation. It was too little too late (apologies to ace football commentator Kwabena Yeboah). This was in 1998 at the World Cup which was hosted and ultimately won by France.
Whereas the world was enjoying the football fever, down here in Ghana, something was biting at that fever. 1998 was an era of light-offs (christened dumsor today) and erosion of economic circumstances. The country was experiencing energy crises with inflation at its galloping best hitting 40% by end of year.
That day- 28th June, 1998-I had to watch the game at a friend’s house because the lights were off at my end. I trekked a distance-from Ayeeko Ayeeko, a suburb of Cape Coast, which is nearer to Tantri Station to Aboom (those who know truly Cape coast will know these suburbs). My friend had placed a bet on Nigeria to win the match but the Danes had other ideas.
Sixteen years down the line, we are back here again. The energy crises is staring us in the face again. The World Cup has come again. Many Ghanaians are going to be denied the chance to watch yet another spectacle. For sixteen years, the energy crises that have afflicted our country have not been properly addressed. Time without number, the politicians-both in power and in opposition-continue to advance promises about improving the energy situation at every opportune time.
Recently, it was reported that the energy minister has called on Ghanaians to pray for rains in other to generate adequate hydro energy for the country. His ‘appeal’ goes to prove how those appointed to solve problems continue to settle for ad-hoc measures and lazy solutions to our problems. And this isn’t peculiar to the energy sector. It’s a national problem which goes to explicitly point to why our beloved country is still stuck where we are.
Tomorrow, the World Cup begins. Brazil, the host will play against Croatia. Electricity Company of Ghana is reported to have promised (a promise no serious Ghanaian will take to heart) that some 50 Megawatts of power from Cote D’Ivoire will be sourced to augment what is generated here, so that fans can watch when the Black Stars are playing.
Considering the times these games will be played mixed with the erratic power situation, it seems having a generator set in your house should be a MUST. Failure to acquire one will mean you missing out on the thrill the World Cup brings along every four (4) years.
France won the 1998 World Cup on home soil beating Brazil, the defending champions to it.