Black Stars shine brightest

2010-06-23 21:11

 

Ghana 0
Germany 1

They were the first African country to qualify for the 2010 World

Cup.

They were the first African team to register victory at this year’s

edition of the biggest soccer event.

Now they are the first to proceed to the second round of the

tournament.

And they will probably be the continent’s only representative among

the last 16 sides – unless Ivory Coast produce a miracle – or more specifically

nine goals – against Korea on Friday.

Despite their 1-0 loss to Germany tonight, Ghana still repeated

their World Cup 2006 feat of qualifying for the second round, where they will

meet USA in Rustenburg on Saturday.

Ironically, their 2006 achievement – which came on only their first

World Cup appearance – happened with Germany as the hosts while Ghana were under

the tutelage of Serbian coach Ratomir Dujkovic.

Tonight, the Germans were the opponents while another Serb, Milovan

Rajevac, sat on the West Africans’ bench.

As they huddled together at half time, the Ghana players knew that

their dream was within reach after they managed to keep Germany out for 45

minutes.

For about 60 minutes, Ghana were well on their way to maintaining

their stay on the Group D summit – with their game and the one between Australia

and Serbia goalless.

But Mesut Oezil’s scorcher from the edge of the box gave Germany

the lead – and coach Joachim Loew the much-needed relief – in the 60th

minute.

Still, the Black Stars shone the brightest on the night to lift the

dark cloud over what was once known as the dark continent after the elimination

of South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria and Cameroon.

For a change, goal difference worked in favour of the Africans,

with Ghana going through despite being equal on four points with Australia, who

ended up defeating Serbia 2-1.

Also, for a change, the woodwork did not deny Africa after the

efforts of Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon), Katlego Mphela (SA), Yakubu Aiyegbeni

(Nigeria) and Rafik Djebbour (Algeria) had crashed against the post in their

crucial games.

Though Ghana are through, they stand no chance of equalling or

bettering Africa’s record of a quarterfinal finish – set by Cameroon and Senegal

– unless they stop squandering and start scoring.

The Black Stars have not scored more than one goal in their 11

matches this year – including five Africa Cup of Nations clashes, three

international friendlies and three World Cup matches.

In fact, they netted only nine times in those games.

Even during their 2006 World Cup campaign, Ghana scored four and

conceded six in four games.

But for now, Ghana have lended credence to a line from Shakira and

Freshlyground’s World Cup song Waka Waka: “This time for Africa.”


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