Award-winning novelist, Chimamanda Adichie, has revealed she once had a ‘mild crush’ on ex-Ghanaian midfielder, Michael Essien, after the Ghanaian team defeated the United States at a World Cup tournament which Nigeria did not participate in.
Adichie revealed this in the introduction written for a picture book, Africa― The Future of Football, authored by photographer, Pall Stefansson.
The respected writer shared a video on Facebook where she read the introduction (to the book), with the title, ‘Football Nationalism’.
According to her, she became a Ghanaian after the team caught her attention at the tournament.
Adichie emphasised the point about how football makes people forget their differences.
“I watched the game (Ghana vs USA) with my best friend, Uju, often shouting and then hugging each other when Ghana finally beat the United States,” she said.
“You know some of our boys started playing this game without shoes’, Uju said. ‘Our boys’ were, of course, the Ghanaians.
“A small consequence of that game was my developing a mild crush on the Ghanaian player, Michael Essien, as much for his looks as for his dexterity.
“But the larger and more important consequence was my realisation that sports allowed us, black Africans, to address historical and political grievances in the most cathartic way.”
The Purple Hibiscus writer also narrated how despite their frequent quarrels over the dirty state of the compound and the attendant mice infestation, her sister, who lived in Ilupeju, Lagos and her neighbour became momentary friends the moment the Super Eagles beat Argentina in the finals of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Adichie recently lost her father, Prof James Adichie. He was Nigeria’s first professor of statistics.