Ooooo, wonders shall never end and as long as memories do not fade, we shall recall our childhood pastimes and events. When I was growing up in Takoradi, almost all communities had one team or the other. I remember in Takoradi, some of the most popular football clubs within the Zenith/Prempeh Cinema area were Fortuners and Real Madrid. We had the 5/11 and 4/8 teams. Apart from one’s football skills, height was a major factor in playing for these and other such football clubs. The 5/11 meant that one had to be 5 feet 11 inches tall or there about for the senior team and 4 feet 8 inches to play for the junior team. I played the 4/8 of the Real Madrid. Come and see my performance at the now destroyed Takoradi Police Park. This was in the 1960s.
Many other football Clubs had either United to their names or X1 to their names. For example, Dramanikrom United, Asiedu Nketsia Nkwanta X1, CDR United, Azorka X1, Delta Force United etc etc. In Sekondi-Takoradi, the most popular united football club was Ekuasi Proud United. Whaaat, that football club? Ekuasi is a suburb of Sekondi, in between Sekondi and Takoradi on the coast line road. Ekuasi United was such a strong football team. And they were proud.
In those days, they did not play with football boots; they only bandaged their legs and they played like hell was falling. Whoever you were, they will beat you, particularly in their home grounds at Ekuasi. Of course, there were other United clubs like Wassaman United who once upon a time played the first division, now Premier Division. They met Kumasi Asante Kotoko in a league match and they were walloped 11-0. We were made to believe that all the 11 players of the Wassaman United were left legged.
In 2016, two major political football Clubs emerged in the political premiership campaign, there were still a few but I describe them as curtain raiser political football clubs. Even though they were supposed to be competing for the trophy at stake, they were all supporting one of the main contenders as it were. We are told that the jerseys and the boots of Convention United were all procured by the NDC United. The captain of Convention United, once again, I am told, was trained by the same coach of NDC United. So instead of tackling the players of the NDC United on the field, he will be positioning himself against the main opponent, NPP Waakye X1.
Indeed, it looked as if the NDC United was solidly united as a team, the leader was a young energetic dribbler who was considered a utility player, he could be in the midfield when the game was tough, sometimes he would stoically be at the defence to halt the marauding attackers of his opponent. And where the goals were not coming, he would push forward to score. He was ably supported by a huge army of babies with sharp teeth as well as docile and disgruntled old evil dwarfs. The team was indeed United. Their slogan was ‘United we steal, divided they lose’.
Their major contender was the NPP Waakye X1. In our childhood, when a football team did not have the full compliments of its known and reliable players on hand and it still needed to honour a match, all it needed to do was go scouting for players from the neighbourhood to face the opponent. This set of players were referred to as ‘waakye’. Incidentally waakye is a very popular meal in Ghana. It is a mixture of beans and rice. So when a football team has not its full compliments and have to select from outside its domain, it is called ‘waakye’.
So in that tournament, the NPP had lost its coach, captain and the midfielder. It had to play the tournament by picking some guys somewhere to make up for the team. The team was NPP Waakye X1. NDC United was very jubilant about the desertion of the three key members of their main opponent. Some people even speculated that it is the NDC United which bought off the key actors from the NPP Waakye X1.
The NDC United presented itself as a very formidable team with its various cells well organized for action any time. Their women were vociferous. This reminds me of a football match I played in my secondary school days in the Upper Denkyira area. We had vacated, and my village, Imbraim was supposed to play as the guest of another team in Oponso, some four miles away. Our number one goalkeeper had travelled, the number two was indisposed but we had to honour the match.
We began the match and before the end of the first half, we had been whipped three goals to nil. During the second half, we substituted our keeper. The women supporters on the other side began a song: Yen de3 yen kyenkyi yen goalkeeper nanso yebebo soccer. To wit, for us, we won’t change our goalkeeper but will play beautiful soccer.
The NDC United painted a picture of a club very well fortified and united in a way that no team could make any incursions into its 18 yard box let alone attempting to score a goal. They used the desertion of the three top players of NPP Waakye X1 as a psychological weapon to whip up support for their team.
Finally, the much awaited day of the match came and before the end of the first half, the NDC United had been routed beyond their wildest imagination. So severe was the defeat that many of their technical bench started talking as if they have had High Fever. Even when they were down by four goals to nil by half time, they still believed they were in a comfortable lead. The fans of NDC United marched around the periphery of the stadium assuring their captain that they had won the match.
However, when the whistle was finally blown to signify the end of the match after needless holdups and protestations against nothing, and when the captain of the NDC United, a self -acclaimed Usein Bolt, had cried his heart out, they accepted defeat, the most merciless defeat in our recent elections. Folks, did you notice something within that short period? Each time the captain of NDC United came out to speak, his young daughter was beside him. The wife, the second in command in the scheme of things was absent. Captain John Dramani Mahama of the United NDC took consolation from the little girl. Eei, women, hmmm.
Yes, the long and short of my story is that, recent events, June 4, and the 25th Anniversary Celebrations of the club have indicated that there was not a grain of unity in the club. All of a sudden, the club is calling for unity if it should come back to premiership. The Founder of the club is cautioning against ‘mouth mouth’ unity. He does not believe in the people who are preaching unity because when they were at the top of the league table, they did not bother about others.
Some are attributing their defeat to a horse which was lame and underfed and not the rider. Another is saying the driver was not good so the vehicle developed problems and that until the vehicle is fixed, they should not be worried about who the next driver is going to be. I am sure the next time, someone else is going to talk about the plane which taxied to the end of the tarmac but could not take off as the cause of their sounding defeat.
Eebei, Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur! You are asking President Nana Akufo Addo to fulfill his 170 promises to Ghanaians? Wogyafo, how many of the 170 questions posed to you by then running mate Dr. Bawumia did you answer? Today you get mouth to talk? The NDC was not united after all. It was the most fragmented political party prior to the last elections. It succeed in covering up its internal disunity and amplified what it perceived as disunity in the NPP. The chicks have come home to roost.