Hamilton

For many Hamiltonians, World Cup games mean cheering for your other home team — like Ghana

Approximately 20 members of Hamilton’s Ghanaian community sang, danced and cheered Ghana on as they played Portugal in their World Cup game on Thursday.

Members of the Ghanaian community came together to watch the game against Portugal Thursday

African drums, cowbell and chanting filled the Church of Pentecost, where the Hamilton Ghanian community watched the world cup.
Members of the Ghanaian community engaged in singing and dancing while enjoying food and drink to amplify their excitement. (Aicha Smith-Belghaba/CBC)

Approximately 20 members of Hamilton's Ghanaian community sang, danced and cheered Ghana on as they played Portugal in their World Cup game on Thursday.

Portugal beat Ghana 3-2 at Stadium 974 in Qatar, but for those at the watch party, held at Church of Pentecost Hamilton on Barton Street, it was all the experience.

"We Ghanaians here in Canada can't get a chance to go to the game, so seeing it here and against Portugal is amazing," Collins Kyere told CBC Hamilton.

The World Cup kicked off on Nov. 20 and culminates with the final on Dec. 18. 

Football fans will get to experience some 64 matches, and for many communities in Hamilton, the games mean coming together to cheer for your respective home team. 

While the Church of Pentecost Hamilton is normally closed, except for Sunday service, the doors were opened Thursday so those who wanted to watch the Ghana-Portugal game had a space to do so on a large flat-screen television on the lower floor.

Lawrence Opoku wore the flag of Ghana over his shoulder the entire match keeping his spirits high during the game.
Lawrence Opoku is one of the Hamilton Ghanaian community members who attended the watch party of the Ghana vs. Portugal World Cup match. (Michael To/CBC)

Cheers and shouting began before the game kicked off at 11 a.m. ET, with people wearing Ghanaian colours.

Lawrence Opoku had the Ghanaian flag draped around his shoulders.

"It's a very exciting game, it's always great to get the folks together to come watch their country play," he said. 

"You can see their excitement from across the room."

Lawrence Kittoe prepared Jollof rice, bofrots (African fried dough) and juices for the World Cup watch-party.
Elder Lawrence Kittoe of the Hamilton Ghanaian community prepared snacks, food and drinks for the watch party. (Aicha Smith-Belghaba/CBC)

At half-time the group had a spread of jollof rice, fried chicken and side dishes, and a rowdy chant complete with djembes (African drums) and cowbell filled the space. 

As the game ended with Portugal winning, the energy in the church turned somber, but they still cherished the experience.

"It's always great to see friends and family come together, and with everyone so busy with their lives … a chance to bring everybody together is a sight to see," said Opoku.

On Wednesday, Belgium beat Canada with a score of 1 - 0. Canadian left-back Alphonso Davies, who was born in Ghana to Liberian parents, received cheers from the local Ghanaian community.

Ghanian soccer fans were wearing Ghanian colours, enjoying African foods and each other's company.
As the game ended with Portugal winning, the energy in the church turned somber, but they still cherished the experience. (Aicha Smith-Belghaba/CBC)

"I think the players did very well. Finishing was a problem, but in terms of passing and dribbling I think they did well," said Kyere. "The energy to finish wasn't there but I hope they do better next time."

Opoku said, "We played a pretty good game, from what I saw I think the team has a chance to do something great."

Canada's next game is against Croatia on Sunday at 11 a.m. Ghana will play South Korea next on Monday.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael To

Reporter

Michael To is a reporter with CBC Hamilton. Passionate about food, entertainment, and local culture, while reporting on all topics and beats. Trained and educated actor, versed in multimedia. Contact he/him at: michael.to@cbc.ca.

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