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Opinions of Sunday, 4 July 2010

Columnist: Amuna, Nick

The Black Stars, a team to Watch in the 2014 World Cup

It is obvious that the Black Stars and Ghanaians will be disappointed for not making it to the Semi final stage of the 2010 World Cup. But I want to remind all Ghanaians including the players and the coach that the players did not only make Ghana proud but the entire continent. Some of the reasons why the Black Stars should be proud of their performance are as follows:

1. A total of 204 nations around the World competed just to qualify for the World Cup, out of which only 32 nations made it to South Africa 2010. Ghana was among the top 32 countries to make it to the World Cup.

2. This is the second time Ghana has made it to the World Cup. The first time they were eliminated at the round of 16 stage. This time they took it a step further by making it to the quarter finals. One of the only three African teams to ever make it that far.

3. They were the only African team to fly the flag of Africa in the 2010 tournament at the round of 16 and the quarter final stages. The ANC of South Africa eventually renamed the Ghanaian team as the “Black Stars of Africa”.

4. They played very well against the Germans, who are by far the best team so far in the tournament. The Germans thrashed England 4-1 and Argentina 4-0. Ghana created more chances against the Germans before loosing by a lone goal.

5. The current world champions, Italy, and the runner up, France were shamefully eliminated from the tournament at the group stage. Portugal, England, and all of the Asian teams were eliminated at the round of 16, but Ghana made it to the top 8.

6. The Black Stars played very well against Uruguay but luck was not on their side. Suarez of Uruguay basically succeeded in using the “two magic hand of God” to rob Ghana by stopping the goal bound header from Adiyiah. FIFA currently studying the Suarez hand ball, and may extend his punishment. Unlike some of the so called top football nations such as Argentina, England and Brazil, Ghana did not leave the tournament disgracefully. They lost through a painful penalty shootout which could have gone either way.

7. The three top teams that were not shy of making attempts at goal by shooting during the group, round of 16, and the quarter final stages were Brazil, Argentina and Ghana. The Ghana Black Stars were third on the list but scored only two goals in the group stage through penalties, two superb goals against the USA at the round of 16, and a Muntari cracker against Uruguay at the quarter final stages. The youthful Ghanaian team was young and inexperienced but was not shy to shoot at goal when they got the chance. Asamoah Gyan, of Ghana and Messi of Argentina were joint leaders of most shots taken with 23 shots each at the group and the round of 16 stages.

The youth policy of Ghana was positively praised by many football analysts. Some of the praises came from top football personalities such as Ruud Gullit, Alexi Lalas, Coach Bob Bradley, Coach Martinez of Wigan, Steve McManaman and many more. The Ghanaian coach was highly praised, for his ability monitor the younger players and gradually integrate them into the senior team. Ghana basically had a very good and reliable replacement for every single player in the starting eleven. The Ghanaian officials also did a very good job by maintaining discipline in their camp.

The Ghanaian team was a delight to watch, they have a bright future. The time is now for them to go back to the drawing board to begin their preparation for the 2014 World Cup. There is no need to wait until a year to the World Cup before preparing. The Germans have the same youth policy and it is working very well for both countries. The youth policy is working, so maintain it. All of Africa and the world are studying the Ghana youth policy, and are preparing to implement similar policies. There is therefore the need for Ghana to maintain the lead by improving our youth policy. Coach Milovan is a very good coach and must be retained. The GFA and coach Milovan need to add a few more players from the youth teams and play numerous friendly games in preparation for the next African Cup of Nations and the World Cup. Believe it or not, the Black Stars made Africa and the world proud, and will be the team to watch in the Brazil 2014 World Cup. God bless Ghana.

By: Nick Amuna

Email: nicamuna@yahoo.com