Many Massachusetts residents from Ghana, a West African country of nearly 25 million people, handled the Ghana-Cape Verde game casually, streaming it on their computers at home, perhaps wearing a Ghana jersey or waving a flag.
“When we go to the finals, it’s going to be crazy,” said Gordon Halm, a Lowell resident who came to Massachusetts from Ghana just over 18 years ago. “Soccer is what every Ghanaian is passionate about.”
Ghanaians have larger gatherings for big games, he said. They play drums, eat traditional food, and watch their national team, Ghana Black Stars.
“But right now, the drums and everything are quiet,” Halm said.
Halm was in Ghana in 1978 when midfielder Karim Abdul Razak won the Africa Cup of Nations with his “golden goal,” a moment equivalent to Adam Vinatieri’s January 2002 “Snow Bowl” kick or Bobby Orr’s 1970 Stanley Cup dive. It’s a moment every Ghanaian soccer fan remembers, he said.
Since winning the cup four times between 1963 and 1982, the Black Stars have hit a championship lull.
“It has been almost about three decades,” Halm said. “It’s a long time. Hopefully one day we will be able to lift the cup once again.”
While Ghana’s hopes are still alive, the Blue Sharks must now head home. But Cape Verdeans in Stoughton said the team’s improbable success was a source of a pride, regardless of one game’s outcome.
“Before, Cape Verde was a country most people didn’t know,” Antunes said. “But when my brother runs across the field waving the flag, I think, people are not going to ask anymore. Cape what? Cape Verde.”