Respected media critic Francis Doku writes a weekly column in the Graphic Showbiz newspaper. In the last issue, he tackled the ongoing European football championships and gives his verdict of how best to follow the tournament in Ghana.
Today’s piece is about football. We have exactly two months to go for the new season of football in Europe to start.
But as we wait to get on board we have a new tournament to watch and just after that the Olympics will roll with all the panache that it comes with. It is as though football never went away, anyway.
The 2016 edition of the UEFA Euro Championship started in France, last Friday, with a big opening. There was David Guetta on the turntable to scratch a few of his hit songs among many other colourful mini ceremonies that the world was exposed to by the French.
Some say it was a dour opening and didn’t carry with it the oomph that would be needed to set such a high profile tournament on the course to being great. To the most ardent football fan however, it is not so much about the music and dance and other mini ceremonies as much as it is about FOOTBALL.
The game is all that matters and we cannot be thankful enough to the gods of football for lavishing on us another big tournament not long after all the leagues we are addicted to in Europe ended. It is as though the benefactor of football never goes to bed, one ends and another immediately follows. Can we say football is the gift that keeps giving? Yes we can!
Unfortunately there are a group of people who do not understand why there is always some football to be played. They cannot just come to terms that we look forward to football every time and by some providence we get it too. Women, mostly, cannot believe why there is always some football to be played and why grown men can’t live without it.
Don’t forget that before the Euro Championship got underway there was the Copa America also happening across the pond in the United States. Over there also the big names in world football from the Americas have gathered and we have our eyes on that as well.
However, coming back to the Euro Championship we can talk about how competitive it has been and how no country, at the time of writing this at dawn on Wednesday, can be written off. All the teams that played their first round matches lived up to the expectations. Even the lowliest of footballing nations has shown character and proven not to be pushovers.
The challenge with the Euro2016 had been coverage by local television and radio. The national broadcaster is not going to cough up the huge tab needed to acquire the rights to broadcast the matches live (though it has managed to get the Copa America to viewers on GTV Sports+) nor will any other channel.
During the opening game of the biggest trending topics on Twitter was the fact that Angel TV had come to the rescue of football lovers and had saved them money they would have spent at viewing centres or pubs to watch the match on DStv.
It went off one day and Twitter went gaga and then it came back with the match commentaries again. I don’t know if they have legally acquired the rights to show and to run commentary in Twi over it, but Twitter can’t be bothered. So long as they can troll DStv subscription payers and watch the big matches everything is fine.
For me however in all these, what I look forward to is commentary on radio. There is very little of that for this particular tournament as there has not been many stations running commentary. I had hoped that BBC and Joy FM will make time for all the matches but it looks like they also select matches they would broadcast.
Talking about Joy FM brings up the subject of George Addo (left, above) Junior once again. Over the last few years he has established himself in my books as the best bet when it comes to running commentary in English on the radio.
If you recall after the World Cup in Brazil, I wrote a piece about him being my best commentator on that tournament. Over the two years since the world cup, he seems to have grown with the time and has become even better.
It could be that I have become biased towards Addo but it is hard to listen to the commentary on Joy FM with anyone else running it than him. If it is not him I might just be nice and endure it while it lasts or just change the dial to protect my “BP”.
The best combination for a Joy FM football commentary, I have found out since this tournament started, is to have George Addo running the commentary and have Gary Al-Smith (above, right) as his summariser and wingman. Gary’s sense of analysis is awesome and his penchant to produce some of the most relevant statistics is something that makes the combination very good.
The reason I look forward to radio commentary is the fact that I cannot be guaranteed uninterrupted power supply by ECG or the rains could prevent DStv from functioning and also because I could be on the road going somewhere.
If any of these happen and I need to catch up with the football it better be George Addo and Al-Smith in commentary position. I am loving the combination and long may it continue.
All that said, I am looking forward to enjoying this tournament and hope that the teams I support go very far. I am talking about Italy, Spain and Germany. All the others I hope can entertain me when I spend time to watch them or listen to them.
Over at the Copa America I am rooting for Argentina to win this time. Brazil had gone to disgrace themselves again just as they did at the world cup two years ago. Again another Brazilian manager has been fired for terrible performance at a tournament. So it’s Argentina’s turn to shine at the Copa.
Editor's note: You can follow the Joy FM coverage on the Joy News channels various bulletins daily, while on radio there is live commentary of all 7pm kickoffs, Monday to Saturday. The Joy Sports team also offers Twitter updates on @JoySportsGH