RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Friday, April 9, 2010

How giants were felled by 'dwarfs'


To see the reigning champions fall like that in the fourth episode of this year’s Zain Africa Challenge brought back memories of the 2002 soccer World Cup when debutants Senegal pounded the then World and European champions, France in the opening game.
Similarly, few if any, could have predicted that the great University of Ibadan (UI), the very university that shaped the intellectual prowess of Chinua Achebe and Africa’s first winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Wole Soyinka, could be crushed out of the televised inter-university quiz at the hands of little-known University for Development Studies, Ghana (UDS).
Everything between the two universities is seemingly diametrically opposed in favour of the Nigerians. At 64 years, and as Nigeria’s oldest university, UI has pedigree to brag about whereas UDS which started in 1992 still has lots of evolving to do.
But this didn’t stop Martin Oppong-Quainoo, Stefan Froelich and Joseph Awindaogo from bringing tenacity to last Sunday’s battle of the wits. They took charge early on, firmly answering John Sibi-Okumu’s questions on current affairs, notable places and ‘trans’-formations, winning the round with 150 points against UI’s 30.
Elaine Irabor, Samuel Toluwaleyi and Cyrus Majeri of UI had entered in smugly but soon their complacency vanished when the second round became an even harder nut; so hard in fact that by the end of it they had 60 points while their opponents were rocking the boat with 290.

Recalling the sheer pace with which last year's Ibadan team outshone everyone on their way to slashing Kenyatta University in the grand finale thereby solidifying Nigeria's reputation as Africa’s brain superpower, and seeing the glory they earned their university dissipate like fog due to the sloppiness of their 2010 counterparts was painful.
Majeri had to fight like a jungle cat in the third round to propel his team to 170 points but UDS stuck to their heady style; cracking questions on “money in the bank” and “things in the sky” on their way to scooping that round as well with 340 points.

It's never over until it’s over, so it has been said, and with the Ultimate Challenge worth 500 points, UI came with all guns blazing well knowing this was their last chance to knock the enemy off the pedestal. The hunger with which they answered their last questions made it appear they would hit the day's jackpot until one little question engaged the gear of inertia. The question was: "Morgan Freeman portrays him in Invictus."

Even I who's not a movie buff knew that was Nelson Mandela but the hapless Nigerians were clueless. But 450 points out of 500 was not bad at all, and gave them a grand total of 620 points, but was that enough?
Maybe it was as UDS now needed at least six correct answers to carry the day. It was no easy feat, but the Ghanaians, inspired by their motto, “Knowledge is power” and a hunger for the day's plaudits, answered seven questions, bringing their sum to 690 points, ecstatically romping into the quarterfinals while the now downcast defending champs bid their goodbyes.
It’ll be a battle of neighbours tomorrow when Kenya’s two-time winners, Egerton University, engage Tanzania’s Tumaini University. Catch the show on NTV at 8.30 p.m.

--Saturday Monitor, March 27, 2010.