Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Story: Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi

IF the extraordinary spirit demonstrated by the Black Stars in their 4-2 defeat of the Elephants of Cote d’IVoire at the Baba Yara is anything to go by, then one would rightly agree with skipper John Mensah that all is not lost for the national team as they look into the future.
The skipper says, “We need to correct the mistakes of the past and build on this team so that we face the World Cup qualifiers and other future international matches with hope”.
The Black Stars, who walked away from the 26th Africa Cup of Nations failing to achieve the much trumpeted “Host and Win” slogan, perhaps, took consolation in the fact that they recorded their biggest win in the three-week tournament, which eventually won them bronze.
Pity the Black Stars. They may have wished to have played all matches at the Baba Yara Stadium where, perhaps, their luck resided.
They never had that opportunity. But at least the 4-2 trouncing of the Elephants was a refreshing moment for the team whose highest score in a match had been two goals. Is it the question then that Kumasi had something special for the Black Stars?
Remember it was at Baba Yara that the Black Stars qualified for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
The Black Stars failed to win the ultimate trophy, but at least what they demonstrated against the Elephants clearly showed that the future of the team looks bright if the right structures are put in place.
Officials of the Black Stars were astonished about the massive support the team received in Kumasi, which went a long way to see them through the semi-final.
For many who thought the Elephants’ 1-4 defeat to winners Egypt at the quarter final was by accident, the 2-4 loss to Ghana showed that there was a hole in the team, which any team with the right eyes would exploit.
Against Cote d’Ivoire, the Black Stars showed that they were not bereft of talent and brilliance.
Names like Sulley Ali Muntari, John Mensah and Michael Essien are already household names, but many others can come up as great stars for the nation if the right structures are put in place.
For Celta Vigo striker, Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, it was a match he would never forget.
He scored his first competitive goal for the national team, and what a way to celebrate it as he ran powerfully across the edge of the pitch to receive cheers from the crowd.
The team played above their abilities, especially in the second half where even the lightening-quick legs of Didier Drogba were almost dead.

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