Officials from Ghana and Ivory Coast have agreed to settle the longstanding maritime border dispute with the kick of a ball.
The surprise agreement is believed to be the result of mounting pressures on both governments from citizens wishing to see the dispute resolved through a more “exciting means.” Both Ghanaian and Ivorian citizens argue that proceedings at the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) which could take up to about three years, lacks “drama and excitement.” A Ghanaian who welcomed the move to settle the dispute on the football pitch said “three years is a long time to wait. We want a kpakpakpa resolution to this case.”
Under the agreement, Ghana and its western neighbour will withdraw the case from the international tribunal, shifting the arguments from a court room in Hamburg to the football arena. Players of the Black Stars and Les Elephants will take on the mantle of settling the dispute over the location of their shared maritime boundary, with each team alternating five penalty kicks. If the teams are tied after the five penalty kicks, each will select additional player to take a kick until an eventual winner emerges.
Reports from the Black Stars camp indicates they are confident of avenging their painful AFCON 2015 finals penalty shoot-out defeat against the Ivorians in February.