Washing the screens of a number of television networks and listening to the utterances of the people of Ghana on the team’s performance at the ongoing world cup in South Africa, we at the New Dawn-Liberia do sincerely believe that football is truly a unifying force.
As evidence by the tumultuous reception given by the President, Government and people of the Republic of Ghana upon the arrival of the Black Star from South Africa despite their quarter final exit in the world cup at the hands of Uruguay, there is truly strength in unity.
It was not only soccer enthusiasts who stormed the Kotoka International Airport and celebrated the home coming of players of the Black Star in the streets and other places in Accra, but also the leadership of the country, opposition leaders and members, civil society, market women and men, as well as ordinary Ghanaians.
Comments by Ghanaians throughout the world, including Ghana itself, on international media networks in support of these players were all indicative of not only the performance of the “boys”, but a nation of hope and pride. Despite being initially considered “under dogs” in the entire world cup, players of the Black Star did not despair, but persevere bearing in mind that the Republic of Ghana was at the core of their campaign in South Africa.
With the love of Ghana and only Ghana at the back of their minds, they exhibited the highest degree of discipline and courtesy on and off the pitch. With Ghana as their one and only nation they had to defend, they did not consider themselves as “under dogs”, but the same as other football powers in the world cup. And that’s exactly why they played the way they did, exiting with pride and dignity at the end. And as the result, the whole nation and Africa, including the great Nelson Mandela hailed them.
The Ghanaian opposition and their supporters did not see them as players of President John Atta-Mills and the National Democratic Congress or NDC, but the true representatives of the entire Ghanaian nation. That’s why the return to Accra of the Ghanaian national team was greeted with the highest degree of patriotism, with President Mills and Opposition Leaders heading the celebrations.
This is the magic football plays in unifying everybody-be it opposition, ruling party, civil society and just everybody, everywhere in the country. When will Liberians ever learn such a magic? How do we go about making practical this magic called UNITY?
We at the New Dawn are of the fervent belief that learning from the Ghanaian example could be the best way out for us. We may have our differences; there may be divisions in opinions; opposing views may exist, but at the core of such differences, agreement in the interest of our nation, Liberia must be the order of the day.
That’s the Ghanaian formula for national growth and development we must adapt. We sincerely believe that if football can be used as the foundation for national unity, the President and Government of Liberia must serve as the fore-runners in developing deep and sincere interest in its promotion and funding.
They must ensure that players of the national team, the Lone Star are treated with the highest degree of RESPECT and HONOR. The Liberian opposition must not see efforts by the President and Government of Liberia to foster unity through the promotion of Football as a campaign to win support, as we observe in our country. The word opposition does not connote being “enemies” as most Liberians on the other side of the political divide believe, but disagreeing to agree on a number of national issues.
And when the government is addressing such issues with some degree of pragmatism, it must be graced by all Liberians because at the end of the day, the government would be gone, and that Liberia would continue to be the benefactor. That’s the way the Ghanaians do things-their country first and then, all others next.
And it is only the magic of unity as evidenced by Tuesday’s rousing welcome by all Ghanaians in Accra that is doing such tricks. Liberians must therefore learn from the Ghanaian experience.