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Date: 22 April 2019

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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Ghana remain Africa's World Cup brightest Hope

[Posted 17 Jun 2010]
Ghana remain Africa"s World Cup brightest Hope

By Brighton Mupangavanhu

Black Stars of Ghana became the first African team at the 2010 World Cup to collect maximum points and keep Africa's dream of second round football alive. Ghana beat Serbia 1-0 at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in the second Group D match on Sunday 13 June.

Ghana's on-fire striker Asamoah Gyan,scored in the 85th minute when he converted emphatically from the spot after Serbia substitute Zdravko Kuzmanovic was penalised for handball attempting to head clear a dangerous cross. That was justice for the manner in which the Black Stars had controlled the match and dominated the midfield for long periods during encounter.

The young Black Stars team demonstrated their class and groowing profile in subduing the high rated Serbians in Pretoria. The match was tension-filled following revelations that the Ghanaian coach Milovan Rajevac had his house demolished in his native Serbia a few months before Ghana's Group D opening match against Serbia. Milo reportedly believed that that was part of mind games being played by Serbia ahead of the match, which Ghana went on to win 1-0 on Sunday. Milo's body language on Sunday after the final whistle told of a man overwhelmed by emotions. He shrugged off a congratulatory hug from a Ghanaian backroom staff on Sunday. But what matters is that Ghana won on the day and kept Africa's hopes of a second round qualification alive.

Other African teams apart from Ghana, and probably with the exception of Ivory Coast, have found the going tough in the opening matches in this first World Cup on African soil. Bafana Bafana have thus far flattered only to decieve in the tournament. After producing a remarkable come back story on Friday in the World Cup opener against Mexico, Bafana went on to deliver a lacklustre performance against Uruguay yesterday. Uruguay won the match 3-0. So much had been made about Bafana's heroic battle against the Mexicans that hopes were high that they could easily beat Uruguay. It was not going to be. Bafana players' complacency, a terrible strategy and approach to the game by coach Carlos Parreira and the brilliant all-round performance by Uruguay all combined to doom Bafana to a morale-sapping defeat. Now Bafana need to move mountains if they entertain any hopes of progressing to the next round.

Nigeria put up a gallant fight against Argentina but still fell to a controversial Gabriel Heinze goal in Saturday's second Group B match. There is still hope for Nigeria if their performance on Saturday is anything to go by. Algeria and Cameroon tasted defeat against Slovenia and little Japan respectively in their opening matches.

Ghana are the only African team to have bagged maximum points in their opening fixture. Ghana face Australia in their next Group D match in Rustenburg on Saturday 19th June. The Black Stars have already been warned against complacency by the Black Stars legend Abedi Pele Ayew, father of current midfield star Andre Ayew.

"My former coach at Marseille used to tell us as players after a victorious match that we are done with this match, the most important game is the next one. So Milo must pass the same message on to his players in the dressing room. They need not relax. Its not over yet." Pele was speaking to the SABC where he is an analyst for this World Cup period.

It will be inaccurate to dismiss other African teams as no-hopers even in the light of their losses in the opening games. Ivory Coast remains Africa's most talented footballing unit on paper. Their drawn encounter against Portugal was a result of a good performance. If they manage to get any kind of positive result against Brazil, they will in all likelihood qualify for the second round. Even if Ivory Coast were to lose, they could still beat North Korea and qualify as the second best team in Group G.

Nigeria showed enough evidence Against Argentina that they could pull through to the second round behind Argentina in Group B. Africa will be praying and hoping that Bafana Bafana, Cameroon and Algeria will fight until the end.

Judging by the African teams'performances in the opening matches, commentators have predicted that only two African teams look poised to qualify for the second round. Many argue that Ghana only need a draw against Australia to be assured of qualification, while Ivory coast may need only three points to make it from Group G. But soccer has proved to be an unpredictable game at this year's tournament with some very surprising results. Nobody should rule out the Indomittable Lions of Cameroon, the Super Eagles of Nigeria and hosts Bafana Bafana.


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