Workers World Online|1 July 2010|Workers World Online |
The people of Africa, including those in Ghana, are very much aware of how colonialism and neocolonialism along with U.S. military intervention continue to undermine the continent’s economic development. In his June 26 column, “Putting Tears Aside:…
It wasn’t England that eliminated the U.S. team from the quarter-finals on June 27 during the 2010 World Cup Soccer games in South Africa … or Germany or France or Spain or any other European team. It was the West African country of Ghana that vanquished the team representing the world’s most powerful imperialist country.
The Ghanaians won this historic match 2-1 in overtime, sending the U.S. home depressed and humbled. Asamoah Gyan scored the tie-breaking goal. Ghana is scheduled to play Uruguay in the semifinals of the World Cup, which is played every four years.
Many people, especially non-soccer fans, would react to this U.S. defeat with a “who cares” shrug of indifference. But for tens of millions of soccer (the original football) fans worldwide, especially throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America, and for working and oppressed peoples living in the richest capitalist countries, what the Black Stars of Ghana achieved was a big deal. This win goes way beyond the extraordinary talent and tenacity of Ghana’s team. This win has political and historical significance.
Ghana is approximately the size of Oregon. Its population is close to 24 million compared to the U.S. population of more than 300 million. Ghana was colonized by a number of European powers in the aftermath of the devastating slave trade. Ghana won nominal independence in 1957 from Britain, resulting in the anti-imperialist leader, Kwame Nkrumah, becoming Ghana’s first prime minister. A right-wing military coup which involved the intervention of the CIA overthrew the Nkrumah government in 1966.
Today, Ghana’s economy is severely underdeveloped due to the austerity measures imposed by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Ghana ranks 146 out of 170 countries with a gross national income of $262 per capita, while the U.S. ranks fifth with over $33,000 per person for 2010. (nationmaster.com)
The very modest funding and the facilities that the Black Stars have to train in, which can’t remotely be compared to the huge advantages of the U.S. soccer team, help to put this victory into political and historical perspective.
The people of Africa, including those in Ghana, are very much aware of how colonialism and neocolonialism along with U.S. military intervention continue to undermine the continent’s economic development.
In his June 26 column, “Putting Tears Aside: Celebrating Ghana’s Victory,” sports columnist Dave Zirin states, “It’s no secret that there is resentment over the way U.S. multinationals like Coca Cola and McDonald’s have taken over the country, pushing street vendors to the margins of the cities. It’s no secret that the record television rights go entirely to FIFA [Federation Internationale de Football Association], while the costs of stadiums and infrastructure are on South Africa’s bill. Off the field, the game is rigged and the West will win no matter the final score. On the field, revenge is sweet.”
This point was confirmed on allAfrica.com: “There were celebrations across the continent from Lagos to Nairobi and from Accra to Cairo as the Black Stars sent the USA packing.” (June 27)
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