Teams /  Ghana  / Ghana 
Ghana have 1,027 Fans
World Cup 2010: Ghana capture the imagination as Africa's dreams die
Sean Ingle at Soccer City - 4 years ago

Hours before kick-off the fields around Soccer City swelled with South Africans switching allegiance for the day. Youthful faces were painted red, yellow and green. Older hands draped themselves in Ghana scarves and flags. And everyone seemed to enjoy randomly shouting: "Go Ghana! Go Ghana!"

It felt like the start of a party. A party that was brought to an abrupt and painful end before midnight when, with the last kick of the penalty shootout, Uruguay's substitute Sebastián Abreu scooped a perfect "Panenka" into the net.

As the Uruguayans celebrated, the stadium emptied in a heartbeat. It is hard to overstate how much people here wanted Ghana to become the first African team to reach a World Cup semi-final. Much emotional energy had been spent and now there was nothing left.

For most South Africans, Bafana Bafana's first-round exit was an uppercut to the solar plexus, and when Nigeria, Algeria and Cameroon exited soon afterwards many locals were losing interest – until Ghana gave them a second wind. Airwaves were full of supportive voices and newspapers such as the Sowetan and the Daily Sun used their front pages to urge the team on. "Africa Unite – Black Stars carry continent's dream" and "We're all Ghana fans today" screamed headlines. Placards urging Ghana to make Africa proud were everywhere in the stadium.

After the heartbreak of the penalty shootout, their manager, Milovan Rajevac, was pragmatic. "The result is something that has made us very proud, we have a great future ahead and great young players. This is a sporting injustice, but today I congratulate Uruguay."

However the 84,017 crowed were rather less measured. Whenever Ghana surged forward, vuvuzelas would discordantly reverberate to excited cries, while every time a Uruguay player went down under a challenge there were pantomime boos. Those shouts became an ear-piercing cacophony of joy when Ghana won a penalty deep into extra time when Luis Suárez handled on the line – only for Asamoah Gyan to smash his penalty against the crossbar.

The early signs had been ominous. Ghana, without the suspended Jonathan Mensah and Andre Ayew, the 20-year-old midfielder who has arguably been their best player in the tournament, hardly got out of their half in the opening 30 minutes. During this period their goalkeeper, Richard Kingson, juggled Suárez's shot before holding on at the second attempt and was called upon to make an instinctive save when Isaac Vorsah nearly headed into his own net and then tipped over a Suárez shot on the turn. The 4-2-3-1 formation which Rajevac has used so well in this World Cup was creaking.

But, having absorbed significant punishment without going down, Ghana pushed off the ropes. Within the space of a minute, Vorsah's header missed Uruguay's left-hand post by millimetres while Gyan's shot flew past the right-hand post by a similar margin. Suddenly the shrieks around Soccer City were reminiscent of a Beatles concert in the mid-1960s.

Shortly afterwards, Sulley Muntari's 40-yard shot flew into the bottom corner of Uruguay's net and Ghana, 100-1 outsiders before this tournament, were ahead. Suddenly Soccer City was transformed into a African version of Last Night of the Proms as flags waved furiously. It did not last. Diego Forlán's free-kick and a dramatic penalty shootout saw to that.

Critics will point out that Ghana only scored two goals in the group stages, both from fortuitous penalties. But, having given Germany an almighty fright in their final Group D game, they deservedly beat the United States in extra time and they threw everything at Uruguay. There was plenty of verve and athleticism last night but rather less composure in front of goal. With a decent centre-forward and a fit Michael Essien, who knows how far they might have gone?

This is comment. GNM does not necessarily support the views expressed.

Share your thoughts
Sign in to comment
Page 1 of 1
What a shame I really wanted ghana to get into the finals.
I am soooo dissAPOINT.

Latest News, Blogs & Podcasts

Football Italia - 3 weeks ago
“Instead, we must all embrace peace and seek a lasting solution for the team's problems through decent dialogue. “I believe that building genuine cooperation among all stakeholders in Ghana Football remains essential for promotion of trust ...
The Hindu - 4 weeks ago
A dispute over pay was behind Ghana's exit from the World Cup in Brazil, the president of the Ghana Football Association was quoted as saying by local media on Friday. “Money, money, money had been the refrain by the players, and it is a pity they ...
Nigerian Bulletin - 2 weeks ago
The Brazilian Federal Police is claiming that about 200 Ghanaian football fans have refused to leave Brazil and have filed for asylum on grounds of inter-religious conflicts in their home country. BBC wrote, "Brazilian federal police say that some 200 ...
Tribal Football - 1 week ago
Ghanaian midfielder Prince Buaben has become Hearts' sixth summer signing after agreeing a one year deal with the Tynecastle club. "It's great that Prince has put pen to paper," head coach Robbie Neilson told the official Hearts website. "He's been at ...
While football players are known for their greediness, the fact that Ghana's players insisted that they receive their playing bonus in cash, before the last game, and gave rise to scenes that involved a plane full of money arriving in Brazil before ...
Following petitions to the Ghana Football Association by three Premier League Clubs, Ebusua Dwarfs, Accra Hearts of Oak and King Faisal, the Prosecutor of the GFA has preferred a charge against Aduana Stars to forfeit two matches they played in the ...
Kevin-Prince Boateng Schalke Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng has stated that he never insulted Black Stars coach Kwesi Appiah during the 2014 World Cup. The former AC Milan midfielder was suspended for Ghana's match against Portugal along ... - 6 days ago
Ghanaians have raised various arguments justifying or condemning the propriety of the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Ghana government to dissect the unpleasant details of the country's 2014 Fifa World Cup debacle. Given the football-loving ways of ...
That the Rosaneri have secured a talent of the undoubted quality as the Ghanaian-Swede is of huge credit to president Maurizio Zamparini but, more interestingly, evidence of the strength of his friendship with former Cagliari sporting director Nicola ...
The Daily Star - 3 weeks ago
"It is only then that we can learn from our mistakes and reform all aspects of our preparations for major football tournaments in order to restore the pride and glory of Ghanaian football. I strongly believe that it is absolutely the right thing to do ...

Latest Photo Galleries

World Cup 2010: The best pictures of Ghana v Uruguay
4 years ago
The best pictures of an epic quarter-final match between Ghana and Uruguay
World Cup 2010: Round of 16, day one
4 years ago
We bring you the action as the knockout stages get underway with matches involving Uruguay and South Korea and Ghana and the USA
World Cup 2010: Jo'burg's African immigrant fans enjoy the World Cup
4 years ago
Our photographer Andy Hall, visits Yeoville, a suburb of Johannesburg, a community of migrants from all over the country and the rest of Africa. It is a vibrant and colourful pan-African area seen as a microcosm of Africa in central Johannesburg, and is home to the most diverse community of Africans in living in South Africa.
Kick4Life - changing lives through football