Lions' Ansah sees sister for first time in six years

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Bagshot, England — Ziggy Ansah has never been to London, but this week's trip is still a bit of a homecoming for the Lions' defensive end.

On Tuesday, Ansah saw his older sister for the first time in six years, and even though she knew he'd be in town, Ansah surprised her by showing up at her doorstep.

"Because I know her address, I just took a cab, went to her house and just knocked on the door," he said Thursday. "She just like fell on the floor, just overwhelmed."

Ansah arrived Tuesday bearing at least one gift for his nephew, a Spider-Man costume, and had a chance to meet his sister's 10-month old child for the first time, too.

Since moving from Ghana to Utah to attend BYU, Ansah hasn't seen his family much. In March, he returned to Ghana to see his relatives, but his sister, Elizabeth Giddings, moved to London two years ago and wasn't home, though his three other siblings were.

Ansah said he and his sister talk on Facebook and Skype regularly, but he was glad to have a chance to spend about five or six hours with her Tuesday.

"We just talked. She cooked some African food for me, which was great," Ansah said, adding the menu consisted of Jollof rice and chicken.

Ansah had been talking about seeing his sister with the team in advance of this week's trip.

"I know he was excited about it," coach Jim Caldwell said.

For Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium, Ansah said he bought 10 tickets for relatives, including his sister and mother, who will be in town. Even though Ansah's sister will be at the game, she doesn't know his duties as a defensive end or what a sack is.

"She said she doesn't know (football), but she knows what a touchdown is," Ansah said.

If Ansah had his way, more Africans would soon have a better understanding of American football. Not only does he think the NFL should play a game in Africa, but he expects the league to add a game there at some point, pitching his native Ghana as a potential host.

"Yeah, it will happen," he said. "It's in London, why not Africa?"

Lions safety James Ihedigbo, whose parents emigrated to the United States from Nigeria, said he'd like the NFL to hold a game in Africa, too.

"I think we definitely should make that happen," he said. "I think that would be awesome."

In his second season, Ansah has 3½ sacks, five tackles for loss and a forced fumble, and his presence on the edge has helped the Lions rank first in the NFL in total defense.

Even though he's a Chelsea supporter, he might try to attend the English Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester City. Growing up as a soccer fan and player, Ansah expects playing at historic Wembley Stadium to be a thrill.

"I'm really excited," he said. "I can't wait. I know it's going to be a loud crowd, and I hear it's going to be a consistent kind of noise. They're going to cheer like they're watching football — football football."