There was an international uproar yesterday after a player from Ghana, who plays in Israel during the year, waved an Israeli flag after Ghana beat the Czech Republic. Why did he do it? Apparently, to reward his fans.
Pantsil said that he wanted to make the Israeli fans who came especially to watch him happy. He didn’t mean to make the headlines and definitely did not intend make a political statement for or against Israelâ€¦” said Adjei.
Pantsil said people in Ghana fail to understand why he waved the Israeli flag and not the flag of Ghana, adding that he is a religious man who holds a special place in his heart for Israel.
He said that he received many phone calls, one in particular from Aryeh Hershkowitz, the manager of his Israeli soccer club Hapoel Tel Aviv.
â€œEveryone was very proud of me for bringing a little happiness to Israel,â€ he said.
There is such hatred of Israel in the world that Ghana felt it had to apologize for Pantsil’s actions. He had to apologize to the Ghana Football Association as well. And here’s a quote that is also going into the running for Ironic Quote of the Month:
“He met with us and apologised and we also want to say that we are here for football and not for politics.”
Funny, if he had waved any other nation’s flag, would the furor have been so widespread?
So what’s going on today?
John Painstil is undergoing a special psychological therapy to enable him to come to terms with the current difficulties he is facing with the furore that greeted his celebration of the Black Stars victory against Czech Republic on Saturday, with an Israeli flag.
The Arab world has even protested against the defenders action, insisting the player exhibited an open bias against them. But Abbey says “the player’s action was devoid of any political stand. Kit was based on shear naivety and nothing more than that.”
That’s right. Gd forbid he should actually support Israel.
The Egyptian press is furious.
“Egyptians supported the Ghanaian team all the way until the 82nd minute, and regretted it after the Israeli flag (waving),” screamed a bold red headline in the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Yom.
The live commentator on the Arab satellite channel broadcasting all World Cup matches in the region abruptly cut short his trademark “goooaaaaaaal” when Pantsil brought out the flag.
“What are you doing, man?” the bewildered commentator said.
Some Arab papers described 25-year-old Pantsil as a “Mossad agent,” others said “an Israeli had paid him to do it.”
But the most elaborate theory was offered by the top-selling state-owned daily Al-Ahram.
Prominent sports analyst Hassan El-Mestekawi wrote that many Ghanaian players attend football training camps set up by an Israeli coach who “discovered the treasure of African talent, and abused the poverty of the continent’s children” with the ultimate goal of selling them off to European clubs.
There’s one more thing that nobody seems to notice, or care about. Two things, actually:
In the past, Pentsil has displayed both the Ghanaian and Israeli flags during soccer matches, most recently after Hapoel TA won the Israeli Cup.
Israel failed to make the World Cup after finishing third in its European qualifying group.
Thing One: Waving flags after a goal is what Pentsil does. He waved the flag of Ghana in Israel to no ill effect.
Thing Two: Israel plays in the European group because they have been blocked from the Asia group by Muslim nations.
Once again, proof that it is always Israeli Double Standard Time.