Ghanaian-American: World Cup an opportunity to share rich heritage with son

My Ghana Football Association shirts and jerseys sparked many conversations over the past month with complete strangers about the World Cup and America’s chance of advancing in the games.

It was incredibly refreshing to see Americans interested in something the rest of the world has been passionate about for decades.

Many of us remember the days when we had to order special antennae to mount on our rooftops and pray that we could catch some Arabic or Latin American TV network to watch the World Cup – if the weather and the luck were on your side.

For me, an American-born Ghanaian who worked in television news, having access to international newsfeeds was a huge perk.

USA vs. Ghana

Back then, most of my co-workers had never heard of the World Cup with the exception of the sports director, who normally only cared about the winner and had no interest in the drama that unfolded as each of the group games whittled down to the championship game.

The sports director’s argument for his non-interest wasn’t unfounded – after all it was common knowledge that Americans had no interest in soccer.

As a result of the increased interest has come discontent with me (an American) rooting for Ghana. Since both the USA and Ghana were in the same group, they had to play each other.

I saw this as an opportunity for me to pass on to my son the opportunity to know and love our beloved Ghana as we grow up away from it.  The USA defeated Ghana on June 16.

Started rooting early

Son
When I heard that the Ghana Black Stars were playing a friendly match in South Florida just before their arrival in Brazil, I immediately made arrangements for us to go. It may seem unpatriotic to some, but it is not often a piece of my family’s background presents itself in my backyard.

My son, Isaiah, and I had the opportunity to meet Black Star Player Michael Essien and former team team captain Stephen Appiah, both of whose names appear on the backs of the two Ghana  Football Association jerseys Isaiah has worn since he was a baby.

To be able to provide my son, who doesn’t remember his visit to Ghana, this opportunity was such a blessing for us both.

Isaiah and I were in the SunLife Stadium in Miami Gardens on June 9, decked out in our Ghana football shirts, cheering at the top of our lungs for the Black Stars as they beat South Korea 4-0. Also present at the match was German-Ghanaian actor and Atlanta resident Boris Kodjoe.

And even though the tables turned and the USA defeated Ghana in their opening game, I still remain proud of the both teams. I was even more proud of my son, who continued to wear his Ghana jersey to summer camp even after The Black Stars lost to the U.S. team.

It has been great to watch Americans tap into the joy and drama of the World Cup games and be able to share interest in an event I’ve known and loved for years.

Isaiah and I are already looking ahead to Team USA and The Black Stars’ run in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Game.

By Sandra Bentil, a Tampa-based journalist, is a first-generation Ghanaian-American with family in the U.S., Europe and Africa.

READERS COMMENTS

  1. shine says:

    By that time Nyantakiey and Kwesi Appiah shall be sack and that will give Ghana a huge opportunity to score a brace against USA. GFA sold our matches in Brazil to make money if you looks deep inside Black stars team I bet you no team in the World at the moment can score Ghana so cheap goals rather Ghana FA members are Satanic Agents by selling matches after matches to feeds their young pigs. Buying sex workers here and there fucking them throwing Ghana wealth on their chests. Looking at Ghana V USA match Kwesi Appiah sold that match to the Yanks no doubts about that. The images are clare thats why Kevin Boateng was having problems with him. Kwesi Appiah was thinking if he bring Black stars experience players Ghana will win that matche and he would have loose that dollars USA had paid him for. Kwesi Appiah and Nyantakyie you can run millions of miles around the globe but theres no places for you to hide. The Earth is too small no matter how selfish you are one day or sooner you shall regret for the rest of your lives. Because of tribalistic in Africa thats why an African team never win a World cup. politics is also the main key problems for Ghanaian football downfalls. Let me inform my fellow Ghanaians that Ghana cant never win a biger tournament untill our leaders stops politicalities in our sports things shall continue bitter for our national teams. You wait and see Kwesi Appiah will not do the national team good but he will distroy it and goes away. there are some monies he wanted to bang into his Bank accounts and when he does he will come out to tells Ghanaians that enough is enough by that time it will be too late for us.He has nothing to offer for Black stars but failure is his tools.He had been sent to bring shameles things into Ghana football. Nyantakiey is fifa demonic Agent and Isah Hayatou. stolen monies from here and there. Muntari and Boateng were the ones to bring this satanic shambolism in the Black stars but the management saw it clare and sacked them instantly but those two players has a pride future and if Muntari curse GFA mmmm lets wait and see But kwesi appiah his not a team coach but atomic bomb.