Feature: Kevin-Prince Boateng Learns About Ghanaians the Hard Way – From Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D., Garden City, New York

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.

I have a deeply emotional attachment to Ghana in a way that Mr. Kevin-Prince Boateng, the German-born half-Ghanaian soccer star, need not have. But my sort of emotional attachment has more to do with the fascinating discoveries, as a historian and a language teacher that, I continue to unearth by the day. In this sense, of course, both Mr. Boateng and I have a right to feel especially and exceptionally proud and blessed to be so richly endowed with something that we, each of us, did not actively and consciously work to achieve.

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For my part, on top of my Asante-Dwaben and Amuana-Praso patrilineage, I also discovered to my pleasant delight only yesterday, from one of my newly discovered relatives, Ms. Janet Dwamena, that I also have roots going deeply and far back to Adansi-Fomena. Now, that is the kind of windfall one does not routinely come by; although, I must also quickly point out, each and every one of us has a treasure trove of background waiting to be delightfully uncovered.

And the preceding has absolutely nothing to do with the current crop of self-righteous rascals and reprobates who call themselves our leaders. In fact, this latter breed of Ghanaians make me indescribably ashamed to call myself their fellow citizen. But I guess, in a subconscious sense, we all, each and every one of us, may be envisaged to have, somehow, bargained, somewhere in the preternatural world, for whichever part of the world in which we find ourselves and are primarily identified with and by.

Anyway, the decision by Mr. Boateng to heartily represent his fatherland – for Ghana is predominantly a motherland, at least this is what my Akan-Ghanaian majority cultural heritage informs me – is one that is unimpeachably laudable. And as I understand it, Mr. Boateng’s mother is of Euro-Germanic descent; and among us Akan, the members of the Schalke soccer star’s ethno-patrilineage, Mr. Boateng has every right to stake a full-blooded Germanic heritage, if he so chooses. Refreshingly, he wisely chooses to be both, apparently.

We also understand that he has a younger brother who is fairly equally endowed with the soccer bug but chooses to legitimately stake a full claim to his Germanic matrilineage, and thus refuses to play for his fatherland. Anyway, in the wake of the inexcusably raw deal accorded his elder brother, his being rudely sent off the Black Stars, Ghana’s senior national soccer team, for reasons that have yet to be exhaustively made clear to us keen observers of the Ghanaian sociopolitical and cultural scene, the younger Mr. Boateng may well be thanking his stars for not having become as naive as elder brother Kevin-Prince as to have, in retrospect, rather unwisely presumed that his yeomanly contribution to the development and remarkable upgrading of international Ghanaian soccer would not only not be taken for granted, let alone so painfully and cavalierly be dismissed and even outrightly disdained at the very moment when it ought to have been deemed to be most needed and even required.

And all this, because somebody with little palpable contribution to the development of Mr. Boateng’s talent, success and global renown simply disliked some aspect of his forthright demeanor and/or attitude. Anyway, Mr. Boateng tells the quite pedestrian story of indulging in a fleeting banter, or petty persiflage, with his teammate and buddy, Mr. Sulley Muntari, to the unexpected annoyance of Coach Akwasi Appiah who, according to Mr. Boateng, proceeded to call the latter some unflattering names, including the globally inglorious “F”-word.

The former AC Milan midfielder continues that it was after Coach Appiah had demanded to know what the joking and raucous laughter was all about, and having been told that it was all much ado about nothing, that the entire rather unfortunate episode unfolded.

One cannot, of course, fault Coach Appiah for being miffed at a pre-match practice when his players were expected to exhibit utmost seriousness and professionalism, more so after rather carelessly losing to Team-USA, a team they had readily beaten twice in the past, and then putting up a 2-2 sterling performance against the Germans, putatively regarded as the strongest team in Ghana’s Group-G World Cup tournament, and a team that with just a little touch of tact and discipline the Ghanaians could easily have trounced beyond measure.

But, of course, so could Messrs. Boateng and Muntari not be faulted for getting upset over what they apparently, and perhaps quite understandably, deemed to be their being rudely treated like a couple of toddlers. At this juncture, though, I would rather not presume to hold brief for either gentleman or even spiritedly defend Kevin-Prince, a largely good-natured player, until all the facts have been assembled and meticulously digested, and then duly evacuated. Pardon my infelicitous abuse of the French language, my dear reader.

Anyway, Coach Appiah, we are told, is claiming, in riposte, that it was rather Mr. Boateng who had rabidly insulted his person and impugned his professionalism, thus forcing him to promptly sack the latter from the Ghanaian Dream-Team. Mr. Boateng, however, vehemently denies the charge, as also has Coach Appiah to the charge of having rudely used the “F”-word against the former. The proverbial truth, of course, may well lie somewhere in-between these two equally compelling accounts.

Whatever the outcome of matters, one can only express the deepest of appreciation for the fact that Kevin-Prince Boateng, against the most absurd of odds, had at least been willing to stand up and be counted among the heroic and legendary and sacrificial few who have found themselves callously and painfully betrayed by our irredeemably ungrateful leadership lot. One thing, though, is clear from the Brazilian front; we darn well deserve our premature exit from the 2014 World Cup. Have any lessons been learned here?


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