The African Cup of Nations semifinal between host nation Equatorial Guinea and Ghana was marred by crowd violence that forced an extended stoppage of play late in the second half and put Ghana’s players and fans in danger. But Ghana still won 3-0 to advance to the final, where they will face the Ivory Coast, thanks in part to goalkeeper Brimah Razak’s good luck charm.
Razak brought his favorite Spider-Man action figure onto the pitch with him and placed it next to his goal. And with that comforting presence at his side, he kept a clean sheet to help his team reach the final.
Then, after all the missiles were thrown and the helicopters flew away and the tear gas dispersed the crowd, the match was finished out and Ghana were able to dance the glorious dance of victory.
The ugliness from the home fans will surely be the focus of this match, but Ghana’s spirit and joy for the game — even after being targeted by the violent fury of the opposing fans — should be held up as an example for us all.