Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie revealed she once had a crush on Ghanaian football star Michael Essien in the introduction she wrote for a picture book, Africa? The Future of Football, which is authored by a photographer Pall Stefansson.
Recalling how Nigeria was absent at a football tournament she watched in her introduction titled “Football Nationalism”, Adichie said she became “Ghanaian” after the Ghanaian football team caught her attention.
“I watched the game with my best friend, Uju, often shouting and then hugging each other when Ghana finally beat the United States.
“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.”
She also shared her experience of watching the Nigerian Dream Team win gold at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, United States while living with her sister in Ilupeju, Lagos State.