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Friday, April 9, 2010

And the last shall be the first


It was a case of the last coming first as is said in the Bible when the University of Ghana came down to whip the University of Arusha in last Sunday’s second episode of the 16-game knockout Zain Africa Challenge.
The two universities are first timers in this televised 30-minute question-and-answer inter-university tournament, but the money was on the West Africans to win the day considering the show of mediocrity Tanzanians put up last year.
But Arusha’s Ngugi Morris, Majo Shimbi and Martin Mwangi entered with a confident stance that made it appear it was not going to be easy for their opponents. Indeed, they were good in African politics and business, crowning the first round with 100 points to Ghana's 50.
  The undaunted Ghanaians, led by Political Science student Richard Nachinaba in centre position, pressed on vigorously in round two and soon rose above. How painful it must have been for Tanzanian fans to watch their great start go down the drain; to see Arusha add a miserable 20 points to their 100 while Ghana’s oldest and West Africa's most prestigious university (according to was riding high with 190 points.
And when Shimbi flunked the super-bonus question of the day for 30 points than the usual 20, hope for a miracle escaped the Tanzanians. By the end of round three, they were clutching 170 points to Ghana’s 350.
Even more, the dexterity with which Ghana’s bespectacled Lloyd Owusu-Asante cracked John Sibi-Okumi’s questions, particularly on films and sea borders, must have drained any ray of optimism remaining in minds of Jakaya Kikwete's boys for they approached the Ultimate Challenge with flagging energy.
It was their last chance for a miracle considering it’s worth 500 points. They picked a category in which they were to identify some words that begin with or end with E-N-D. I thought it was a betrayal of their University’s motto: “Wholistic Human Development” when they couldn’t even name a word that ends with E-N-D that means presage or to foretell. It was not that bad, anyhow, for they answered six questions correctly giving them 300 points and a grand total of 470 that however could not salvage the team.
When the Ghanaians rubbed their hands and took deep breaths, I didn’t know they were about to enter this season’s record books by sweeping all the 10-Ultimate-Challenge questions in a magical 45 seconds, carrying the day with a grand total of 850 points. None of the three players does sciences but the proficiency with which they named scientists and some of their inventions, was far more hilarious, earning each $500 extra cash, while the now distraught Arusha boys bid their goodbyes and hit the road homeward with a consolation of $1,000 each and $10,000 grant for their university.
Tomorrow will witness another battle of East versus West when newcomers, Africa Nazarene University (Kenya) take on experienced Njala University of Sierra Leone. Catch the showdown on NTV at 8:30pm.

--Saturday Monitor, March 13, 2010