Ghana: Africa's Time That Never Was

Maison de l'Afrique - Montréal - Drapeau du Ghana
Photo by abdallahh via Flickr

I didn't want to write on Ghana’s loss at the FIFA 2010 World Cup to Uruguay for reasons best know to me. How on earth can Luis Suarez cheat like this and be successful at the end? Sometimes, such things make me wonder if karma and all those pay back spirits really exist. Do they really exist?

I’m really struggling to remember a more dramatic end to a World Cup match than Friday's classic quarter-final tie between Uruguay and Ghana.

Let's look at a couple of African bloggers who have expressed their sentiments about the sad exit of the only hope of Africa’s team (Ghana Black Stars) in the world cup.

Ato Kwamena Dadzie (Ghana's Most Irreverent) comes up with 7 reasons why Ghana is out of the World Cup: Below is one of his take on the subject:

The One Goal Project – The Black Stars don’t like to score more than one goal in a game. Some think it’s a jinx. But it’s not. It’s called the one-goal project and most of the die-hard supporters of the team believe that it’s a bad omen for the squad to score more than a goal in a game. So the team was content with the single goal in open play against Uruguay. When Diego Forlan equalized with that magnificent free-kick, the players were not so sure whether to stick to the one-goal project or score more. In the end, they decided to live up to the reputation. That’s why they squandered all those chances – including the penalty.”

Other reasons are:

1. God decided to spare the Ghanaian taxpayer a needless expense
Ours is a poor country and God is our compatriot. He knows how most of us struggle to pay our taxes and He doesn’t like the way our government squanders national revenue on footballers. Why on earth should we pay each player seven thousand dollars for winning a game, when most of our teachers earn less than that amount in a year? God in his bountiful wisdom, therefore, decided to spare us the needless expense of showering good money on a bunch of average players who provided the nation a temporary high.The further the progressed, the more money we would have wasted.
2. Other African countries brought ill-luck
The Black Stars were doing quite well – with a lot of luck on their side – until the whole of Africa decided to support them. If the Ivorians, Algerians, Nigerians and Camerounians had half the luck the Ghanaians had, they wouldn’t have been eliminated in the first round. Take the South Africans for example. They won one game, lost one and drew one in the group stages – just like the Black Stars. Yet, they were eliminated because luck was not on their side. When the citizens of an unlucky country like South Africa, not to mention those of countries which have never even dreamt of playing in a world cup, throw their weight behind a lucky squad, disaster strikes. And that’s what happened on Friday. Ill-luck also means too much expectation. The Black Stars often find it hard to meet the expectations of 23 million Ghanaians. Add the hopes of 500 million Africans and their legs get so heavy that they can’t even score from penalty kicks.
3. Players were thinking about lunch with Mandela Nelson
Mandela is a legend. He is one of the greatest human beings God ever created. I think he’s a god. Everyone wants to meet with him. Before him, even footballers with over-bloated egos are reduced to stuttering non-entities. So when Nelson Mandela invites you for lunch, it fills you with a sense of achievement that outweighs the desire to win the World Cup. I love Nelson Mandela. But I think his offer to lunch with the Black Stars came a little too early and made it very difficult for them to focus on winning the game against the Uruguay.

A comment from Abena Obi on Ato's post caught my eyes:

“Am not in the least glad the world cup is over for Ghana. The guys did a great job! I agree they don’t deserve medals but a lunch with the president where some fried plantain and beans is served is well deserved. On your first point “the more money we would have wasted” is totally on point. Mr. Pratt et al, are back in town after living on the average mans purse for two weeks! For these same people whom every single resource governments spends is measured against what the “average man” has it was quite rich to see them live on the government purse for two weeks. Am guessing they went because the NDC government has finished; 1.Putting a roof over the average man`s head 2.Put food on all our tables 3.Feed the sick 4.Repaired all the Korle Bu lifts 5.Fixed all the roads Mr. Prat et al, since you and all foot soldiers of NDC government are back spare as all that crap you keep spewing on the radio. Was your manual on crowd control distributed to each GH fans at SA? “

I can't help but also add this comment from Banske:

“..and the eight point is that Ghanaians in general accept mediocre standard.When they reached the 2nd round in the first attempt,that was a HUGE achievement(Senegal in their first attempt reached the quarter finals),and that when no other African country was in the race,that was enough for Ghanaians and I wonder if there were other African countries in contention when Cameroon/Senegal reached the quarter-finals. I won't be surprised if government decides to reward mediocre by awarding national honors (including cash) to these crop of stars. This is what you get when a spent force appiah fights with Gyan to take a penalty. In any case,God is God and is there for everybody, including Uruguayans and is not as partial as the Ghanaian politician/chief/priest.”

South African blogger Prisha Bhoola says, “Ghana Football Team helped South Africa lay its ghosts to rest”:

We in South Africa also rallied behind our newly adopted team, even christening them “BaGhana BaGhana” reminding ourselves that they needed our support just as much as Bafana Bafana (South Africa’s football team) did. And rally behind them we did. Ghanaian flags were displayed all around South Africa. We sent messages of support to our fellow Africans in the west. This, we said was a home game for Ghana. For a few days, all South Africans were Black Stars.”

Another post by Ofeibea Quist-Arcton entitled; “Ghana's Black Stars Bow out in Style” highlights how the stars performed gustily and impressively:

“Africa's last hope at this African World Cup has been dashed. And yet it was so close. But it was done with style, with determination and with superb soccer. Gosh, you players. You team players. What a show. What a performance. What a joy to watch. Ba-Ghana; Ba-Ghana — you didn't win this one but, believe me; you have more than put Ghanaian and African soccer on the world sports map. Ayekoo, as we say in Ghana. Well done. You have done all of Africa proud.”

Richard Goddard and Kofi Debrah, two events organizers from London couldn't deal with Ghana's loss and so went on to summarize the loss in one word: Robbed:

“Devastated is an understatement. Ghanaian funerals are known for their pumping music and party atmosphere, but what would’ve been the biggest celebration party imaginable turned into what felt more like the traditional English funeral. The streets, which should’ve been filled with people, cars and parties, were left with shocked fans making their long, sorrowful journey home. Absolutely gutted. Still, the team can be very proud with what they achieved, and the parties they provided around Africa with all of their wins beforehand. With no Michael Essien and a team of young players, many of whom are fresh from winning the under-20 world cup last year, the Black Stars are definitely on the rise. Four years time…who knows?”

1 comment

  • Lee Smith-Fett

    I love football but there is something seriously wrong with the game when a player can do something like that and his team ends up being the winners from it. Cheats never prosper? If only that were true in this so-called “beautiful game”.

    One of the saddest moments of the World Cup and one of the most disgraceful acts of cheating I’ve ever seen. The sad thing is Ghana are now out because of his actions and all that happens to him is that he misses one match. I hope the Netherlands take Uruguay apart and embarrass them so much they wish they hadn’t made it to the semi finals. At least then that will be the last we see of Suarez as well. He’s been a disgrace throughout this tournament, diving at every opportunity when anyone comes near him and now this last night. FIFA are right to say they want to stamp bad tackles out of the game but players like him are just as much of a curse on the game. Kids will grow up thinking that his behavior last night was right because Uruguay went through.

    I agree with a lot of other posters who say the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. It should be down to the referee’s discretion to award a penalty goal in that situation like they do in rugby. Or what about the possibility of 2 penalty spots? 1 slightly further away than it is now for minor indiscretions and 1 that’s closer for things like last night where it was going to be a clear cut goal if he hadn’t done what he did.

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