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[Opinion] Oh! What a great season of sports – Cameron Duodu

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DSTV must be congratulated on managing to bring its subscribers a veritable choice of enjoyable sport at the same time. In the past few days, subscribers who did not fancy the European nations’ football competition (Euro 2024) could tune to  the ICC T20 World Cup cricket tournament.

Earlier, there had been some great tennis matches.  Plus the finals of the NBA championship. We were  “spoilt for choice”, as the saying goes. But I have  one request to make of DSTV – please move the facility for  recording  programmes out of the “premium” service and make the capacity to record universal. 

I was a subscriber to SKY for many years in the UK, and I was able to record programmes for more convenient viewing hours, without breaking the bank to do so!. To continue to supply outmoded devices in inflation-impoverished  African countries  is extremely unwise.

Life is hard enough for us, and and DSTV should not fall into the trap of using its monopolistic position to overcharge its customers. Otherwise they will agitate against DSTV, and they can get results, since they are the “chattering” classes. A word to the wise (I hope) is enough.

Speaking for myself, I have, so far,  only heard about Chris Jordan’s unbelievable hat-trick for England  in the cricket World Cup match against the USA. This match was  of  particular interest, because the Americans are not great fans of cricket, preferring  their own version of the game, which is called  baseball. Cricket, if it thrills the US TV audience well, can become a great  money-earner.

You only have to mention  India to realise what a potential for making money cricket has been shown to possess. How did the US team  fare against the “old country,” England? Would  their performance against John Bull win many more. American fans of cricket? Apparently, these questions were answered by quite a thrilling  display by both teams.  I missed the match, and have been hoping for a repeat at a time when I can watch it in peace.

But the amazing thing is that whereas DSTV has been repeating  other cricket Shows (such as the West Indies versus  South Africa; South Africa versus Afghanistan and other great  matches, I still have not managed to catch the one match. I so badly want to se1. 

By the way, is also sometimes happens to me when I miss a particular football match! Is it bad luck? Can the receiver tell that I would be cross if a particular match is not shown at my favourite watching times? I don’t, of course, know what criteria are used to schedule repeats, but somehow, those criteria happen to be  “unfriendly” to me! 

If it were possible, I would, not doubt,  be driven to go looking for the bones of my long-abandoned  VHS recording machine!

Oh, what a joy we used to experience as TROIKA  Rentals used to import TV programmes for us from the UK and elsewhere! Does anyone remember those days? My own best memory is of the authoritarian sound of the TROIKA mistress, who, unmindful that one had hurried there before closing time, would inspect  the tape one had returned and reproach one politely: “BUT YOU HAVE NOT REWINDED”!

Maybe I should interest a friendly bank to finance the resurrection of  some of the video shops that used to make life so pleasant for us in the 1970s! Too late, ain’t it? The rage nowadays, I’m told, is for electronic games, which Artificial Intelligence is apparently improving by leaps and bounds.

I was intrigued, whilst  watching the  Euro-2024 football matches, to find that players of African descent are making quite an impact in the competition.  One player whose name caught my attention was Kwadwo Duah of Switzerland.

I wasn’t surprised that he shone in the Swiss side, the first time that I saw him. For his name is of very good pedigree. It brought good memories to me:  when I was growing up at  Asiakwa, our football-crazy postmaster, Barfuor, was a great fan of Kumase Asante Kotoko, and one of the players whose antics he vividly mimicked for us was called Kwaku Duah. 

Barfuor would go to Kumase most weekends to watch Kotoko play, and when he came back, he would captivate us with his descriptions of the amazing displays of skill put up by Kwaku Duah, James Agyei, or Charles Gyamfi. He made us enjoy football without once seeing a great player in live performance! 

Now, I know that surnames do not necessarily indicate close relationships in our  part of the world, but wouldn’t it be amazing if Kwadwo Duah (born in England, I believe and now  of Swiss nationality) was somehow related to the inimitable Kwaku Duah of Kumase Asante Kotoko? Speculation of that type makes me miss our first Director of Sports, Mr Ohene-Djan.

He was so imaginative that If a “Kwadwo Duah” had put on a great show in a match in the Europe of  his day, he would have flown to the tournament the next day to watch the player and probably invite him to come here to show himself to his ”roots” and connect with them. The fact that Kwadwo Duah would be disqualified from playing for Ghana, having played for Switzerland.

Would not deter Ohene-Djan one bit. He was a genius at organising football and Ghana’s greatness of the 1960-70s was mostly due to him.

A second  player who aroused my interest was Jeremy Frimpong of Holland. To get in the Dutch team, he must be very good but again, I don’t know the depth of his relationship with Ghana.  It would be a wise thing if we instructed the Cultural Attaches at  our foreign missions to gather information on, and befriend such players  and bring them back home to play in exhibition matches and that sort of thing. 

Meanwhile (I ask) , why has Ghana neglected cricket so much in our sporting development? I am sure cricket will soon be added to Olympics sporting events, and who knows whether, if we start now, we won’t be able to develop the game to the point where we might be able to make it to  the World Cup or the `Olympics? 

Who would have thought, a few years ago, that Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea would be able to field credible cricket teams in a World Cup tournament? Afghanistan, in particular has  been a revelation. I  have been disappointed to find that the Ugandans haven’t done too well at the tournament.

Every time I saw them play, I was reminded of the sad passing of my friend, the writer John Nagenda, who was one of the few black players selected for  an East African  side that played in the World Cup in 1975. 

John Nagenda spent his last years of life  as a senior Advisor to President Yoweri Museveni and I am sure that had he been alive and in good health, he would have formed part of the management team that took the Uganda Eleven to the World Cup of 2024. 

Sorry John, that, you didn’t quite make it. But I believe 100 percent that you were there with them – in spirit!  Who knows what difference your presence in the flesh would have made to the team’s performance?      

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