As the World Cup narrows its field down to the elite eight, a number of things have become apparent. Firstly, the officiating has been terrible, blown calls, missed goals, you name it and the officials have found ways to muck it up. Next, soccer has officially been put on the map in the United States thanks to a spirited effort by Landon Donovan and Team USA in making the round of 16. South America is once again showing the rest of the world that they are the kings of soccer as they have dominated the World Cup stage. And lastly, one African country has carried the torch for the entire continent and are now the only hope for an African world cup, how fitting they’re known as the Black Stars of Ghana. They dance down the tunnel, they huddle up before the half and they embody the spirit and jubilance of Africa and they’ll do anything to win it all for their country and their continent. Read more.
Prior to the World Cup, when you looked at the Ghana team roster, and see the name Michael Essien scratched out, you had to be thinking they might as well scratch out the rest of the team from the tournament. Essien the star Chelsea midfielder was the heart and soul of the Ghanaian team and a hero in his country, his injury looked to be the blow that could crush any attempt for the Black Stars to make a run a the World Cup. But looks can be deceiving, much like the Black Stars. While the Black Stars appear to be fair sized, their hearts and their competitive intensity far exceeds their appearance. The team defends extremely well, so well in fact, it almost seems they always win with a clean sheet, albeit, the scoreline is usually 1-0 seeing how the Black Stars are a little thin up front, but a result is a result. And results have been what the Black Stars are getting on the world stage, and not just in South Africa.
Four years ago, the Black Stars made it to the round of 16 at the World Cup only to lose to Brazil. It was a glimmer of the potential in the Black Stars and the beginning of the resurgence of the Ghanaian soccer program. Heading into the South Africa World Cup, I had picked Ghana as my sleeper pick among the African nations to go the furthest in the tournament. I actually believed that on African soil, at least one African team would rise to compete for the World Cup, it seems the Black Stars have not let me down thus far. But to be real, my pick wasn’t a shot in the dark. The Ghana soccer program has been flourishing as of late. Their performance in the African Cup of Nations was exceptional, and that was a team without many of its top players. Also, the young players from Ghana are extremely talented. In fact, it was Ghana who won the under 20 World Cup, so I knew South Africa just might be their coming out party even with the injuries.
The Black Stars must beat Uruguay to advance to the semi finals, a very winnable game in comparison to what Brazil must face to advance, as they will play the Netherlands. Should Ghana advance to the semi final it could send all of Africa into a dancing frenzy, and it will certainly take the World Cup excitement to another vuvuzela buzzing level.