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Hausa in spotlight when Niger faced Ghana

Kwallon kafa. Football.

The beautiful game is the most popular sport in Africa. It is followed by almost a billion people on the continent. In Niger and Ghana, the past few months have particularly been impressive for the citizens who have experienced the pride that comes with following and falling in love with this round ball on the international scene.

At the heart of this fascination is a unique group of individuals that speak the Hausa language at the ongoing TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) 2022 in Algeria.

The laser focus lands on yesterday’s quarter-final game between Niger and Ghana who battled for a semi-final slot at the prestigious continental competition.

Sannu. Hello.

The two sets of players shared light moments in the tunnel before walking onto the Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran on Saturday. Most of this was a few mumbles here and there as they looked ahead to the game. Focused. Eyes ahead. Literally.

For language binds us. Hausa has been described as an Afroasiatic language like Amharic, Arabic, Berber and Somali and is spoken by at least 150 million people.

It is the most spoken language in West Africa so when it got down to business and the game was underway, one would hear the Nigeriens speaking football terms.

Moujé. Taré shi. Bani balo. Goma.

These terms to mean let’s go, catch him, pass me the ball and number 10 in that order. Ghana forward Jonah Attuquaye was the man in jersey number 10 – a man to be afraid of upfront to try and keep a clean sheet for the Menas.

There was tension in the opening few minutes of the game from both sets of players but when Niger took the lead in the 11th minute, the Menas gained more confidence and continued with the Hausa words despite knowing that some Ghanaians would pick up the meaning.

Niger midfielder Maarouf Salissou admitted that, “Speaking Hausa makes us feel like we are at home even though we are away from home. On the football field, we become comfortable, and we need that when we have been away from home for weeks.”

On the other hand, the Ghanaians stuck to Twi which is the most widely spoken language back home.

Several members of the Ghana team as well as goalkeeper Ibrahim Danlad understand Hausa and speak it but chose to communicate to his teammates in Twi to stay focused so that they overturn the 1-0 deficit and chase a semi-final slot.

Y3nhw3 de3 3wo Y3n anim. Yenhwe die ewo yen anim. Let us focus.

When the Nigeriens doubled their lead through Soumana Boubacar Hainikoye, a man who featured for Aduana Stars in the Ghana topflight league, even the Twi could not help the Black Galaxies whose light continued to be dimmed in the game.

S3 asa! Se asa! Ya karé ou ya ida. C’est finni! It is over! Ghana was eliminated.

Niger emerged victorious to book a place in the semi-finals where they will meet the hosts Algeria on 31 January at the Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran.

Credit : CAF MEDIA

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