A church in Ghana’s has held a thanks-giving service for Chelsea football club following the recent Premiership success of the side, which is hugely popular in the country.
Pastor Azigiza, a long-time Chelsea fan, encouraged people at the Living Streams International Church in Ghana’s capital, Accra, to come wearing the football shirts of their favorite team.
Standing behind a cake on a stage made to look like a football pitch, he said: ‘Chelsea, by the grace of God, came first.’
Azigiza told the BBC he wanted to use the power of football to talk about God.
And he also led the congregation in a verse of the Chelsea anthem Blue is the Colour.
The pastor, who was once a radio DJ, teased his immediate boss at the church, Pastor Ebenezer Markwei, who is an Arsenal fan.
In his sermon, Pastor Markwei talked about ‘the good, the bad and the ugly of rivalry’.
He said there was fellowship to be found in rejoicing in the success of others, so others will do the same towards you.
Pastor Azigiza’s boss Ebenezer Markwei (right) is an Arsenal fan.Living Streams International church
Azigiza thanked God for Arsenal’s recent 2-1 victory over Chelsea in the FA Cup Final, ‘because it means that [Arsenal manager] Arsene Wenger will stay’ in his post, and Arsenal cannot win the league with him.
Azigiza told the BBC that he wanted to defuse rivalry between supporters of different clubs, and supporters of any side were welcome at the service.
Chelsea won the Premier League in May having notched up 93 points, seven ahead of their nearest rivals, Tottenham.
Like many other parts of the world, the English Premier League has a large and passionate following in Ghana.
Research carried out in 2015 by Twitter suggested that Chelsea was the most popular side in Ghana as well as much of the rest of West Africa.