sometimes, i guess it is all in a name.
the country name "ghana" is a reference to the african empire of the same name (ironically, not located in present-day ghana). the people of that country were known as the wagadu, and their term "ghana" means "warrior king". a nice description for their football team today, as it turns out.
i probably know less about ghana than about any other nation currently playing at the world cup. as i like to consider myself a reasonably well informed individual, this bothers me to no end. for instance, i did not know that ghana was the first african colony to gain independence. nor did i realise that their food was so comforting and yummy. tonight, i am enjoying a wonderful, hearty, peanut stew (i actually ended up find a few recipes and mixing elements from all of them. what's the fun in experimenting with food if you can't, well, experiment?)
and although i was able to surmise that soccer was a big deal in the home country, i was completely surprised at the number of ghana supporters there are around toronto. (i should add that this is easy to spot because in toronto, a city where a car is almost a requirement for basic life, everyone displays their colours on their automobiles. flags in windows, flags on hoods, windsocks, your friends waving large flags out the window, your kids dangling out the window with banners...) although portugal, italy and brazil basically have a lock on the flag sweepstakes, there isn't a day that goes past where i don't see at least four or five ghanaian flags.
a few days ago, i saw a cab driver with the small flags in the window, the big one on the hood, the wind sock and, for good measure, the team jersey (on him, not on the car). somewhere in toronto is the happiest cab driver in the world.
that's the good news.
the bad news is that because italy also won their game, ghana's second round match will be the one that nobody wants. a great accomplishment, guys, but ladle yourself up some home cooking, because you're going to need all your strength.