By Timayo Ogunro
Growing up in West Africa, certain things are inevitable- culture, corruption, religion, racial bias and football- to be honest, I’m not sure which one takes precedence.
From kicking felẹlẹ in the streets, playing monkey post with your friends and table soccer, do you remember the worst ass-whooping you got for kicking that rubber ball into the neighbour’s house and breaking their glass window? We have all been there- the implicit initiation process towards receiving one’s Nigerian nationality.
We don’t play over here, football is practically a religion in this part of the world. Whether as a means of escaping the harsh reality of the daily Las Gidi hustle and grind, or just to sit back and relax with your guys, grasping hold of that chilled bottle of your favourite alcoholic beverage (for legal reasons, we are not able to name any branded products- because that would be advertising), there is a reason it is deemed, ‘the beautiful game’.
But it is not always backflips and great goals, as you shall soon realize. There are few things that bring us together as a nation, and football is one of them. Specifically, our love for the Super Eagles and pure, unadulterated, hatred for- everyone else. If you were not already aware, in the world of football, every team has a rival- for Nigeria’s national team it is none other than- yes you guessed it- the black stars themselves- the Ghanaian national team.
A reflection of the socio-economic struggle between the two nations, one of the oldest rivalries in African football, the pair have played numerous times, prior to either nation’s independence.
And of the 56 times the neighbouring nations have met, Ghana currently leads the tally with 25 wins, 12 losses (to the greatest African football team in history, ever- or so I’ve been told) and 19 draws.
Older than the never-ending Jollof rice rebuttal (a story for another day), this argument has been the topic of many drunken night, waterside debates with friends. Who is better Jay Jay Okocha or Superman? Who has the greatest World Cup jersey- the Super Eagles 2018 Nike away jersey that sold out in a matter of minutes, or whatever kente cloth the Ghanaians wore to the last world cup they qualified for. These are some of the fair, unbiased questions asked by millions to determine who has the better team.
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