When invited to a football match in downtown Accra, you can’t say no. Especially when the two teams are Benin and Ivory Coast, so the stadium in Ghana is sandwiched between the competitors.
Most of the fans supported our neighbor to the west, Ivory Coast, but there was also a respectable contingent from Benin. It was obvious that the fans from both sides all really enjoyed yelling at each other in French.
The coolest thing that happened, besides GOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAL, was my friend Evan’s adventures. When the players were warming up before the game, he said, “Hmm… I wonder if they’ll let me on the field if I say I’m writing a paper for an American university.” So he borrowed my tiny notebook and Casey’s camera and we sent him off, thinking he’d be back soon. He disappeared for about half an hour, then the next time we saw him he was proudly and deviously wielding a press pass. Yes, he catch-me-if-you-can’d his way onto the field.
And so for the rest of the game we were all just incapacitated at the hilarity of the situation, only matched by a sign we had seen earlier that day:
Evan even got to touch Drogba, the Ivorian hero of the day and fan favorite.
After the game (final score IVC 2, Benin 1) Adam and I abandoned all the others to their cab while we opted for a trotro, thinking it would be cheaper and faster. But apparently tros don’t really run after dark, so we waited at the station for 40 minutes or so before two zoomed by. They were quickly filled with a stampede of fans eager to get home. We were discussing the chance of taking a group taxi with some random strangers we met at the station when another trotro appeared. It was quickly overrun run by a swarm of people that included Adam and myself. Adam miraculously got on board and shouted “grab my arm”! So he pulled me through a crowd of slippery, noisy, grabby people onto the trotro. I felt like I was underwater and he was saving me from a really strong current, and the whole time I was just weak with laughter.
I really recommend reading Evan’s personal (hilarious) account at http://ghanaghanaghana.blogspot.com/2011/03/remember-that-one-time-i-pretended-i.html
For a video of Evan running to interview players after the game (43 seconds into it), go to http://football-highlight.com/en/africa/african-cup-of-nations/2011-03-27-ivory-coast-benin.html
Quote of the day: I gotta go, they’re waiting for me. -Evan, showing off his press pass