Day Twenty-Three – Friday 6th September

We had an early start today: 04.45! We had to travel to Kumasi to watch the World Cup Qualifier between Ghana and Zambia. We met the girls and Thijs, a guy we met in our first weekend, at the university of Ghana at 06.00 and left for Kumasi shortly after.

Bernice had said that it would take about four hours to get there. I don’t think Ghanaians have any concept of time because it took nearly seven hours! That’s the same amount of time it took to fly to Ghana from Turkey! We arrived at 13.00 and were ecstatic to be off the bus which was built for dwarves! So cramped!

We thought we’d be able to drink when we got there but we didn’t have time and FIFA had banned the sale of alcohol for the game. I’m becoming aware that it seems like all I have done on this trip is drink and go out. This is not true! Anyway we had to wait to get into the stadium for two hours after arriving in Kumasi which was so frustrating!

We went into the stand and it was like another world. It was full of dancers, chanting groups, fetish tribal groups, other colourfully dressed people and the expat population of Ghana! There were more obronis there than I have seen in my time in this country. We managed to find some seats eventually but we had to clamour over people and seats up to three seats near the top. We sat there for the whole game. The atmosphere in the stadium was like you’ve never experienced. It was extremely loud and vibrant; there was a brass band next to us playing African songs which made our experience even better.

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When the players came onto the pitch the ground erupted with cheers and singing, it carried on like this for the whole two hours. Some fans were even singing and cheering when the ball went off for a throw-in or a goal kick! I don’t feel like I can fully portray what it was like to be watching a world cup match in a country where football is inherent to everyday life.

When Michael Essien came on the stadium erupted again as it had when Kevin-Prince Boateng ran an injured lap around the field – two talismans of the team. The match ended 2-1 and the only time it was quiet was when Zambia scored.

On our way out, we were swamped by tens of people who wanted photos with us. We couln’t get past them unless we were rude which as the resulting outcome anyway as Kristine was dealt with a bit roughly and surrounded by ten Ghanaian men which freaked her out.

We eventually got back on the cage-bus and began our seven hour journey home. This journey was much worse because we were all exhausted and cramped. I moved to the back so I could lie down which was a very bad idea. I felt every bump in the terrible road ten times more. It was horrible. We got back to Accra at 01.30. I woke up with a cold the next day too!

I had a great time at the game but I would never ever choose to travel like that again.

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