By: Mohammed A. Abu
The highly patronized maiden friendly football match between age-long historical playmates, the people of Savulgu and Kumbungu in Western Dagbon ended on Saturday in a 1:1 draw at the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium in Ghana’s Northern regional capital of Tamale.
Held under the auspices of His Royal Majesty, Ndan Yaa Na Abukari II, King of the Dagbon Kingdom, Northern region of Ghana, the event doubled as a fundraiser cum major side attraction within the context of a recent Royal Decree permitting the rebranding of the centuries long Damba Festival for peace and development.
In the absence of a winner the Damba trophy had to be returned by the Paramount Chief of the Pishigu Traditional Area, His Royal Highness, Dr. Alhassan Andani to His Royal Majesty, through the elders of His Royal Highness, the Kug Na for onwards delivery to His Royal Majesty, the King, as per Dagbon’s royal protocols best practice.
It is anticipated that the second edition of the match, come the next Damba festival, would that time round, get a winner to take the cup home.
Post-Match Savulgu-Kumbungu ‘Rivalry’
Amidst the draw score results, some people of Savulgu could be heard saying their mates from Kumbungu were “dam lucky”. Their team they contended, had wanted to teach their Kumbungu counterparts a bitter lesson they wouldn’t have forgotten in their lives but fortunately for them, by a stroke of luck on their part, the match was brought to an end, shortly after their equalizer and so they must thank their stars.
The Savulgu protagonists further contended that, the draw notwithstanding, their team had totally beaten their Kumbungu counterparts in terms of professionalism, ball possession and number of corners.
Their Kumbungu counterparts were heard to have come out with a sharp rebuttal and ridiculed the Savulgu claim of ball possession and number of corners an empty bluff. “If the expertise you are claiming and touting is true,why were you all that while, unable to score us multiple goals to win but could only manage with one miserable last minute goal as an equalizer for a draw?”,they quizzed.
The Savulgu and Kumbungu historical playmates are known for their never quenching thirst for ‘rivalry’ whenever they chance to meet be it online or in-person. They are indeed, the most interesting duo to behold in Dagbon.
The historical playmate relations between the people of Savulgu and Kumbungu characterized by teasing and cracking of very funny jokes with each other,started about some one hundred and twenty seven years(127) years ago but still active up till today thanks to the unwaning commitment on the part of both parties.
Legend has it that a most unfortunate incident that occurred was to result in a bitter conflict between Kumbungu and one of its other neigbours, Zangbalun.The conflict is said to have developed into a spill over to Savulgu sadly resulting into an eventual showdown between the people of Kumbungu and Savulgu.
This most unpalatable development,is said to have prompted a most decisive action and intervention by then ruling King of Dagbon,Yaa Na Andani II(1858-1896) in order to restore peace in the Kingdom.
Courtesy the King’s affirmative action,the narrative has it that,peace and harmony was restored once again between the people of Kumbungu and Savulgu.
Both sides were therefore exhorted to ensure continuous peace building and to at all times, engender peaceful co-existence and never to give any chance again to the least strife let alone, the worst of it,armed conflict.
The Savulgu-Kumbungu historical playmates relationship some contend,could be cited as a case study in conflict prevention, resolution, management, and peacebuilding driven by commitment and passionate desire for lasting peace and its sustainability on the part of the parties to the conflict.
Giving a friendly football match competition touch to the relations some observers have also contended, is not only a meaningful value addition to it, but also, it adds a yet another interesting dimension to Ghana’s football sports landscape.