Cameron Doudu

I am not a betting man. I was cured of that vice when one morning, instead of buying myself a delicious breakfast before I went to school (hmm? it was some ?breakfast? ? kokonte plus cowtail- and-cow-entrails-soup!) I went and betted on torchlight bulbs powered by batteries.

The bulbs lit up and extinguished themselves in sequence, according to numbers written on a board. You selected a Number, and if the bulb corresponding to that Number stayed lit up whilst all the others had flashed alight but gone out, you won. I thought the Number 7 was unbeatable and put my breakfast money on it.

But it was Number 8 that came up. My friends comforted me by saying that I ?nearly? won!

It was that which made me want to cry. How could fate have been so cruel?

I was cheated of a good one shilling(twelve breakfasts!) by just one number coming after mine, in the sequence. I decided that if fate could play such tricks on me, then I wasn?t going to trust it ever again.

My resolve didn?t last too long.

When Lotto came to Ghana, I too was caught in its tentacles. I didn?t mind the Lotto Doctors, for I had my own ?system? every now and then since that time. One week, I would use the numbers of motor vehicles I had loved in the past: the registration number of the first Morris Oxford car I had ever driven; the CR Ford Pilot I had loved so much; the Bedford one-and-a-half ton truck whose pedals I had to fight to reach? The next week would be the birthdays of former girl friends.

I wouldn?t just write down the numbers, but perm them. Well, one day, I had given my permed numbers to a lotto agent who was busily writing them on lottery tickets when a friend I was waiting for made an early appearance.

He claimed he would be late for his appointment and harried me to leave the lottery for ?later?. Before I realized it, the Lotto kiosks had all closed.

Yes, you?ve guessed it ?that week?s numbers began with exactly the number that was being written when took my money from the Lotto woman! Had I continued staking my perm, I would have got four or even five numbers right! Talk of someone giving another bad luck! My friendship with the guy whose impatience had prevented me from becoming a millionaire never really recovered from that mishap.

And now, a very good friend has said something which as set events in motion that will destroy our friendship, too. He wrote a rather incendiary posting on our internet forum, predicting that ?BS will win the WC?!

Now he could have been joking or merely being sarcastic. After all, in the usual meanings attributed to the two sets of initials, make them hang together ? I mean ?BS? usually lands with a thud (pun intended) in the ?WC? doesn?t it?

But he has confirmed that he meant ?BS? to stand for ?Black Stars?, and ?WC? stood for World Cup!

black stars

He wrote: ?? My predictions have all been uncannily accurate? I?m now reaffirming that I expect the Black Stars to win the World Cup. To recap my football predictions:

1. Man City to win the English Premier League;

2. Arsenal to win the League Cup/FA Cup) and come 4th in the Premier League;

3. Real Madrid to win the Champions League, beating Bayern either in the semis or final and 4. Kotoko to win the local league. Now, I say BS will win the World Cup. Let the Games begin, let the games continue!?

The challenge I threw to him, on appraising his self-predicated predilection for predictions, was this:

?Dearest? while your predictions may be impressive, your prediction re- ?BS? is, with the greatest respect, ?bs?! (in small letters).

?You see, the mentality of Ghana?s current selectors seems to be this: defend, and leave it to some genius of a goal-scorer (Jordan Ayew, for example) to break through ? accidentally ? to win the match for us! Or ? we must pray that our opponents play without a goalkeeper (as happened to South Korea, for instance!) ?I mean, look at Croatia ? Croatia! ? – who IS Croatia? ? attacking and attacking and attacking and forcing Great Brazil to score an own goal?

?Do you understand what it means for Brazil to score an own goal? In that neighbourhood, scoring an own goal is treason, punishable by death, a penalty any private citizen can enforce at will. I urge you to Google ?own goal+execution+ South America? to refresh your memory!

?Yet, instead of learning from the fact that attacking can unsettle many defences and force them to play FOR us, rather than AGAINST us, we are falling back on the dull football prevalent in Europe.

?Do you realise that we are pitted against three of the greatest killjoys in the game today, namely, the USA, Germany and Portugal? All three vaunt ?technical? correctness, whereas we, at our best, win the world?s admiration by playing footie of the ?intuitive? variety.

Remember how we beat the Czechs in a World Cup match in 2006? It?s been our landmark ever since we drew 3-3 with Real Madrid and beat Blackpool 4-0.

How many times were we back-to-back African Champions?

?Didn?t you see what we were doing to former World Champion, Uruguay, before Luis Suarez the shark extended his fin to catch the ball??

I became to intoxicated with the verbosity of my own football analysis that I forgot I was a non-betting man and wrote: ?I bet you this ? if in spite of our current preoccupation with technical finesse, we do win the World Cup, as you predict, you and I will walk arm-in arm into the Sambisa Forest in Borno State, Nigeria, and without the guidance of any Fulani herdsmen, Bring Back The Abducted Girls of Chibok.

?Then we shall conduct a poll of Ghanaian arm-chair football coaches: those who advocate attacking football will not get any of the girls at all, whilst those who appreciate defensive tactics) will be allotted girls according to the girls? defensive prowess, as indicated by the size of their behinds. (Surely, you have heard of ?bottom power? and its uses in Nigeria? If you haven?t, just ask me, and I shall tell you the full story!?)

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