Football can be such an unfair game. How can Africa’s sole survivor in its own World Cup go out so cruelly? The Black Stars came to South Africa as underdogs. They had the worst pre-tournament preparation; the last to assemble and had the fewest trial games ahead of the tournament. Bookmakers told us the odds were not in Ghana’s favours and that the Black Stars will not survive their group.
As destiny will have it, the Black Stars rode against the odds, changed the scripts and proudly fought their way to the quarter final. There, they were supposed to go past the mentally tough Uruguay, but hard luck and cheating by the Uruguayans did not allow Ghana to make history. Try as they did, Ghana could simply not put the ball in the net. Not even a dying minute penalty was missed by the master of penalties, Asamoah Gyan.
It was just not meant to be as Africa experienced what might go down as its biggest anticlimax in recent history. As I observe the sudden disappearance of the flags and the moody morning in Ghana, events of Senegal 1992 rushed back to memory. Back then, Abedi Pele was given what was appeared to be an unfair yellow card in the semi-finals and was to miss the final match. Without team talisman Abedi Ayew, the Black Stars could not win in 120 minutes and went on to lose on penalties. Fast forward 18 years on, team talisman Andre Ayew is given an unfair yellow card and missed the quarter finals. Ghana could not win in 120 minutes and loses on penalties.
One can go on to heap blame and vent hot air on the referee, the cheating Suarez, John Mensah’s awful penalty, Asamoah Gyan’s misses and all, but what is the point? Overall, the Black Stars had a good tournament. They have improved upon their 2006 performance by advancing to the quarter finals. The players fought well and gave all their best.
All said and done, we congratulate the management, technical bench and playing body of the Black Stars. A hero’s welcome awaits them at the Kotoka International Airport on arrival when many Ghanaians will be waiting to say ‘Ayekoo’ to the team.
In 2006 even when they reached the second round of the World Cup, they were decorated with national honours, we wait to see how the nation will honour these heroes:
Richard Kingston, Daniel Adjei, Stephen Ahorlu, Samuel Inkoom, Hans Sarpei, Lee Addy, John Mensah, Isaac Vorsah, John Paintsil, Jonathan Mensah, Ibrahim Ayew, Dede Ayew, Kwadwo Asamoah, Stephen Appiah, Anthony Annan, Sulley Muntari, Quincy Owusu Abeyie, Derick Boateng, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Prince Tagoe, Asamoah Gyan, Matthew Amoah, Dominic Adiyiah.
Looked at carefully, Ghana is placed to return to the Brazil 2014 World Cup with some a great team worth mounting a huge challenge. Many of these players will have matured by 2014, having participated in 2 nations cups and one Olympic games tournament. So, while a continent mourns its losses, they will know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.