Africa trip: A summit of a different kind – Chancellor Scholz meets football icon Anthony Yeboah

These are trying times for Olaf Scholz.

Africa trip: A summit of a different kind – Chancellor Scholz meets football icon Anthony Yeboah

These are trying times for Olaf Scholz. The Middle East is in turmoil, war is still raging in Ukraine. The gloomy international situation also accompanies the Chancellor on his trip to West Africa, where many appointments revolve around the effects of the many crises on the global order.

On Monday evening, however, Scholz allowed himself a brief moment of distraction from the rigors of politics. In Accra, the capital of Ghana, there was a summit of a slightly different kind. On the sidelines of a meeting with representatives of civil society, Scholz met three Ghanaian football icons who are also unforgotten in Germany because of their previous Bundesliga careers: Anthony Yeboah, Ibrahim Tanko and Anthony Baffoe.

The Chancellor is not considered a particularly passionate footballer or fan, so it is quite possible that the meeting may have brought the football supporters in his team more joy than he did himself. Nevertheless, the conversation with Yeboah Scholz may have been particularly enjoyable, as they share with Hamburg in a certain way a common home. Scholz was first mayor there for a long time, Yeboah played for HSV for several years and is still considered a legend by the club and fans to this day. They still have fond memories of his goals and his energy.

What exactly was discussed is not known. The Chancellor generally keeps the contents of confidential meetings to himself. It is said that the conversation in Accra, which took place without the public, was very pleasant. They spoke German and took a few photos as a souvenir, one of which ended up at Stern. In the end there was a Ghana jersey with the number 10 and “Olaf Scholz” on the back.

The meeting later became a bigger topic in the Scholz team, and the photos quickly made the rounds. After all, there are some real football ultras in the Chancellor's circle. Jörg Kukies is one of them, for example. Scholz's economic advisor is considered a passionate supporter of Mainz 05. Wolfgang Schmidt, the head of the Chancellery, has been a fan of FC St. Pauli all his life. And it is said about Steffen Hebestreit, Scholz's government spokesman, that he is passionate about the Kickers from Offenbach.

Some people in the Chancellor's entourage would have liked more time to meet the football icons. Even if the integration of the three in Germany may have been a little quicker than that of some other, less privileged migrants, stories about their experiences at the time could certainly have been a full-length event. After all, migration is one of the big topics on the Chancellor’s trip. In Nigeria, he discussed with the local president about possibilities to legally guide skilled workers to Germany, but to better repatriate immigrants without the right to remain.

On Tuesday, Scholz will spend his last day in the region; further distractions are out of the question for the time being. A quick look at the calendar on the day of departure: In the morning a long drive over gravel roads to Ashesi University, where we talked to students. Then a meeting with the country's president. At lunchtime there was a round table on the economy, and at the end there was a visit to a peacekeeping center.

In the late afternoon we head back to Berlin. Back to the world of major crises.

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