Monday, 06 July

An experience of a life time – The Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund

Feature Article
Kwame Dortmund

There is that to visit list of places as you grow up. As a kid roaming the streets of North Kaneshie, Odorkor, Tema, Bubuashie and Taifa where I still live till this day, there were quite a number - the special treats as a kid to the Ambassador Hotel (now Movenpick), Granada, the now defunct Shangri-la and the famous children’s park.

I remember how Auntie Hannah (mums last sister) used to bait me with a visit to National Theatre in Accra if I did well in my exams. As for the International Conference Centre, it was the ish ooo. Daddy’s love for sports though almost always got in the way.

He introduced myself and siblings to that so early with the newspapers and track loads of sports magazines. I owe practically everything I am in sports journalism to him. He taught me the right pronunciation of names of iconic footballers and he was the first to get me to pronounce Czechoslovakia that properly.

I butchered that name anytime I tried to. With my passion for sports shaping up in school as a football god with the name Zico, not to talk of my exploits for all my childhood teams from Tema to North Kaneshie, I naturally yearned to visit certain places.

Enter these names. Stephane Chapuisat. Karl Heinz-Riedle, Jurgen Kohler, Andy Moller, Matthias Sammer. Remember them? These lads were a big part of the Dortmund team that surprisingly hit Juventus for three in the final of the UEFA Champions League in 1997. They were such a delight to watch in those days especially the Swiss Predator. He made the art of goal scoring look so easy and the midfielders that served the dinner on the plate were some of the greatest at the time. Andy Moller and Paulo Sousa come to mind. That was a side whose talents were well harnessed by the legendary Ottmar Hitzvelt. There had been many other exciting games I had seen prior to that game and I yearned to enjoy these moments as a kid at the various stadia at which these games were played. They were only dreams at the time. As a kid I couldn’t wait for its manifestation.

Many years down the line, that dream has become a reality courtesy StarTimes Ghana and their plans to make the Bundesliga a big part of the football dream on the African continent and beyond. Friday the 18th of October 2019 would leave with me for years to come. Finding myself in the company of other sports journos touring the iconic Signal Iduna Park was special. The experiences of the dressing room shared by many a talent from all over the world, the pitch, the famous yellow wall and the deafening noise on match days were moments to relive. These moments are priceless and you look towards such opportunities every day. 81,300 plus fans on matchday singing and shouting their lungs out. Can’t wait to see the game between the Yellow and Blacks and league leaders Borussia Monchengladbach come Saturday. I really look forward to amazing match day experience.

Big thanks to Tonia, Max and other members of the Bundesliga Team for this wonderful experience. How could I forget the tour guide Alex. Such a graceful and humble lad. The Germans are so famed for their attention to detail and this was clearly on display by this very nice lad. He knew what to say at every single moment that captivated everyone. The only challenge was how painfully difficult it is to get a ticket to see a game at this iconic venue. Tickets for the season are sold out. Of the 25,000 seats available at the yellow wall where fans get to stand, sing and scream out for 90 odd minutes, 24,800 are seasoned ticket holders. One may have to apply and be on a waiting list for up to 30 years, not 30 days or 3 years oooo, 30 years. Accra Sports Stadium and the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, here I come. And that was just for laughs please.

I hope it is the first of many of such wonderful moments.

It was an honour to be there. I hope you also get the opportunity at some point my friends.

Thanks for your time.


The writer, Kwame Dwomoh-Agyemang is the Sports Editor at Class 91.3, a presenter at GTV Sports + and an Adjunct Communications lecturer at Pentecost and Knutsford University College. You can follow him on Facebook: Kwame Dwomoh Agyemang, and on twitter @DwomohKwame1.