Ghanaians are very passionate about sports. Well more accurately, we are obsessed with soccer. We follow our favorite clubs religiously, don ourselves with their replica jerseys and decorate our cars with their logos. Soccer talk shows get the most airtime on some radio stations and if there is one issue every Ghanaian is on top of, it definitely would be the chances of the Black Stars at the next world cup.
But the passion we have for soccer is gradually diffusing in some circles into basketball. The sports is still seen as a “dee bee” game and the preserve of the rich. Which is ironic because of all sports, basketball is probably the most plebeian in nature. Despite the crawling interest in basketball, a totally different sport from soccer, the attitude of Ghanaians towards the game is the largely the same. Heck, people shout “gooaaaaaaaaaaaaal” once a point is scored. Of all the Ghanaian idiosyncrasies which have found their way in the sport of basketball, our unabashed devotion to the Supreme Deity (or deities).
Ghanaians are probably the most spiritual people on earth. There is a God factor in everything we do and rightly so. You pray before you eat, invoke God’s name when you trip, speak in tongues before your exams, pour libation to ancestors and seek God’s face in the girl you want to marry. And of course God is supposed to support the black stars. And so when an egg was hurled onto the basketball court of Accra Polytechnic during the semi-finals of a community basketball game, it made a lot of sense to draw religion into the whole scenario.
At first, it looked like a case of a peeved fan aiming at a player of the Osu Township. The game was between Osu and Tudu. Playing close to home, the Tudu fans were highly vociferous and well represented in numbers. So when the margin between the two teams started widening, the sour Tudu fans devised means to stem the flow of the game. From hurling insults at the referees to throwing sachets of water onto the court, Tudu was hell bent on ensuring a win for their side. All was still nice and dandy as no keenly contested sporting activity in Ghana goes without some skirmish. It was the moment the shell crashed and the yolk spilled that took everything up a notch.
Legend has it that whenever the Tudu Egg comes crashing, all opponents start losing. Apparently this was not the first time this had happened and the Osu team were well aware of it. And just like that, the lead started closing. One Tudu jump shot after an Osu turnover and the double digit lead was reduced to a single digit lead. Was the Tudu Egg really potent? Was Osu getting jittery because some ancestral god of Tudu was going to strike thunder on their heads should they win?
But just like a placebo effect, the charm began to wear off. Late into the 3rd quarter of the game the pace began to change. Osu started taking control of the game, making one 3 pointer after the other and driving to the rim like the lane was a motorway. And then another egg came out of nowhere again like an ISIS missile hurled into Assad’s territory. But Osu was unrelenting at this moment. All guns were blazing and they just were not perturbed.
So the biggest question at the end of the day was “Does the God Factor” really matter in soccer? You might be saying “well what do you expect from a god (with a small G) who is carved by people”. Well sorry to burst your bubble Ahmed or James, but we can run through several examples of Islamic as well as countries with a Judeo Christian orientation who have lost time and time again against people believers would consider heathens. Remember when Saudi Arabia lost 8-0 to secular Germany? Or the numerous times African countries go into a tournament after days of fasting and praying only to lose out to teams who only care about boozing and clubbing after the referee blows his final whistle?
But do not get me wrong. I am one of the biggest believers in the God Factor. I cannot count the number of times I thought I was going to get an F or so on an exam only for me to get way better than I thought. Or that time I was starving and thought there was no food at the night market only to find the gob3 (beans) vendor still open with no one in line. Dude that was the definition of a miracle. But I am more of “tie your camel before you put your faith in God to protect it” type of person.
So before you throw an egg on to the court in the middle of a game, make sure you shot a thousand jump shots before the game, went through several dribbling drills, run up and down the court countless times and avoided okro soup before the game unlike Joshua Clottey.