Saturday, June 26, 2010

My wife, she is a Kotoko fan

David Goldblatt, the author of the transcendent and genre-changing book The Ball Is Round, is currently marking the World Cup with a brilliant series of documentaries for the BBC World Service called The Power and the Passion.

In light of Ghana's luminescent 2-1 win over the United States today at the Mundial, the third instalment in the series becomes an absolute must-listen, even if you don't much like soccer. Part Three (download from the link) wraps itself around a visit to the Ghanaian "derby" match between Asante Kotoko from the northern city of Kumasi, and Hearts of Oak from the capital, Accra. It is much-needed background to an unfolding news story.

Now I am a longtime (though distant) supporter of Hearts of Oak, so some of the story was familiar to me, but the way Goldblatt captures a rivalry that is one of the most intense in the world, and relates it to the reality of Ghana itself, is superb.

Parts one and two, about the Milan derby (Milan vs. Inter) and the Cairo derby (Al-Ahly vs. Zamalek) were very fine. (Grab them at the series website linked above). This one was unbelievably engrossing and good (plus the music in the stands is terrific). With Ghana's quarterfinal versus Uruguay looming as a game between two enterprising teams playing great team football, it is required listening.