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Soccer News of Wednesday, 5 July 2006

Source: Daily Guide

Soccer Fever Grips Ghanaian Women

SOCCER IS a game mostly enjoyed and watched by men, but following the qualification of the Black Stars to Germany 2006 World Cup Tournament, the soccer fever has gripped most women, worldwide, writes Sheilla Sackey. A cursory look at soccer events in the past indicates that, only few women enjoy watching soccer, let alone argue over the game. Not again! For now, a different spectacular dimension is being set in place, by women.

In Ghana, the World Cup air is currently blowing, in the aftermath of the Black Stars? upsets at the tournament, having brushed aside the world?s second and third ranked sides, the Locomotive of Czech Republic and the Stars and Stripes of United States of America (USA), respectively.

A week earlier, the feat of the Stars broke the political barriers in the country, unifying even women, noted for petty squabbles.

Consequently, women from all walks of life including Ministers of State, Parliamentarians, religious leaders, business women and traders and the physically challenged were not left out at a programme dubbed ?Victory Carnival?, organised by the Ministry of Information and National Orientation. The preceding programme handed Ghanaians the opportunity to celebrate the success of the senior national soccer team, mutually.

Even after Ghana?s defeat to its Brazil on Tuesday, July 27, most women still spotted in a jubilant mood cladded in the national merchandise and the Black Stars? paraphernalia. To crown it all, the Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a stickler for consistent and constant work, had to sign off at work early on Tuesday to cheer the Black Stars, in their battle against the Selecao Canarinho of Brazil. Just after the Black Stars had been forced to succumbed to defeat at the hands of Selecao Canarinho, some soccer loving women poured their hearts out, in an interview with Daily Guide.

?Soccer stirs emotions of a large number of people, all over the globe. It brings people from divergent cultures together and promotes solid virtues, such as fairness, team spirit, and tolerance; which is why most of women registered their solidarity to the Stars. Ghana?s success of booking the round of 16 berth at the 2006 World Cup finals was very historical, since it was the nation?s maiden appearance.?

-Francesca Ashitey Odunton, Ghana Television News[GTV]

?The Stars really exhibited that they are heroes of Africa. They really played well, but as the saying goes, soccer is about victories, and so though the Ghanaian players did well, they could not hit the back of the net. However, I would always praise the Stars, for lifting the flags of Ghana, the image of Ghana, the name of Ghana, and Africa in the stratosphere. I am highly disappointed with Ghanaians who have ceased wearing the national colors, because of Ghana?s 0-2 defeat to Brazil. I think such people are unpatriotic. I will continue to wear my national colours, until they return to the country. Despite the Stars? arrival, I will continue to don national wear. The Brazilians could not much our boys, but our only problem is that, we could not score. If the players could work on their striking abilities, we would make it in 2010. I love them; they are my heroes. -Agnes Chigabatia, Bawku North MP.

?I have been a sports enthusiast since infancy. There are also women of my calibre who throng sports stadiums to watch big soccer matches. But, as soccer becomes more and more popular, innumerable of people, and more logically, more women will be interested.

However, I think more significantly, this is the first time that Ghana has participated at the highest forum of international soccer competition. And so, you shouldn?t be surprised to see a number of women supporting the Stars. Soccer has become a national passion, and it is therefore not surprising that a large number of women seem to be out there, supporting the Stars.

I am ecstatic! By records, we have lost, but from my heart, I think the Stars have done well to make Ghana proud in the world of soccer?we can describe them as real heroes. We need to celebrate players? victory, because they have made a breakthrough, which would forever be remembered. The world will find it difficult to forget the Black Stars and Ghana. The world will forever remember Ghanaians as people who eliminated its number second and fifth ranked 5 nations, Czech and USA, respectively, and faced the number 1, Brazil, only to be robbed. I believe that, if the Stars had utilised their scoring opportunities, and had had an objective referee, they could have reached the final of the 2006 World Cup finals.? -Glory Akuffo, Minister for Aviation

?Words cannot describe my feelings, after Ghana?s brilliant show-piece at the 2006 World Cup finals, but a great joy is written all over my face. The Stars fought gallantly. In fact, I was not sad, but disappointed with the attitude of Lubos Michel, the Slovakian referee, who robbed Ghana. The result of the match was a stolen verdict. Indeed, the important victories of the Stars at the tournament have clearly shown beyond all reasonable doubts that soccer is the passion of Ghana, and it needs not to be toyed with, in anyway. -Mrs Victoria Sorgbodzo, Business Woman

?I am very impressed with the performance of the Stars, and being their first time at the 2006 World Cup finals, I think their performance was marvelous. Ghanaians should not be down-hearted, at all. We should rather encourage them, starting from now, and we also need to build a strong team that will take us there in 2010.They have done well to make us proud but the referee was biased towards us but that is the game .The GFA should protest they should at least complain to FIFA, if nothing comes out of it fine, but then there should be something on records to indicate that we were not happy about the way the referee treated our boys.

For the national team we should begin to prepare the team She emphasized on the need to have an standing national team, the issue of bringing players from the clubs as and when and where necessary is not the best for us, we should identify boys from Ghanaians, train them, give them same incentives, as their colleagues outside will have and make sure they are always available when we need them, most of these foreign-based players come out with excuses of injury when we need them, and they are thinking of economic interest, than what they will do for the country. So, I think right from now, we should begin to consider a permanent national team. -Akua Sena Dansua- MP for North Dayi

Rosemary Fumey-Business Woman

?I am enthusiastically supporting the team because I just love the Black Stars and their style of playing. I wholeheartedly support the Stars. The nation appreciates what the boys have done.

Mary Timah

When the President said this is the time to be a Ghanaian, I said this is political talk, but I really understand him and I will say I am happy and proud of the Stars? performance.

I congratulate the coach for taking the Stars to the World Cup to raise the flag of Ghana high.

Whether we have lost or not, I will continue to jubilate.

?Soccer brings people from divergent cultures together and promotes solid virtues, such as fairness, team spirit, and tolerance,? Mrs Francisca Ashietey Odunton