Friday, February 8, 2008

Ghana in Mourning


Ghana were oh-so-close to getting the job done, to making their way to the African Cup of Nations final on their home soil.

But with their 1-0 loss to Cameroon in yesterday's semi-final, all those dreams came tumbling down. Hard.

Today, a report from BBC News about the emotional aftermath of yesterday's loss.

People in Ghana are taking it very, very hard. Have a read here and click above to see some images from the BBC's 'Nations Cup diary.'

Ghana do have one game left, against the team many thought they'd play in the final: Ivory Coast. Should still be a good game. Just not the one everybody anticipated ...

Ghanaians are not moving with a spring in their step this morning - their dream of lifting the Nations Cup trophy remains just that.

For the 600 fans who crowded into a square in central Ho to watch the Black Stars take on Cameroon's Indomitable Lions on a big screen, an earlier cloud burst set the tone for the tears to follow.

"I am not happy about what they did," Stanley, a 12-year-old boy, exclaims passionately after the 1-0 defeat.

"They tried but - but they didn't try hard to score a goal."

As the music blares out from giant speakers to try and ease the aching hearts, some are more philosophical.

"I still have hope - this is not the end of the world and there is nothing we can do," a young man called Joseph said.

Others still believe there is still something worth fighting for.

"We're going to pray and correct our mistakes for the next match so we can win third position, which will be played on Saturday," says a man aptly named Courage.

Jinx

Few expected Ghana to err against Cameroon and the arguments and debates continued in Tank Rank square for hours.

"We had problem with the defence and midfield too. We have to have more skilful scorers to be able to break and penetrate that wall. That is our problem," says Anthony, a worker at the Volta Region Hospital.

Both semi-final results are what Ghanaian football fans least wanted and this raises the question about whether attendance will be reduced for Sunday's final in the Accra stadium - Egypt v Cameroon - and at the big-screen arenas around the country.

"No, I won't watch, because I'm sad," a teenage girl says on the verge of tears.

She seems most upset that Laryea "Rasta Man" Kingston - the Ghanaian midfielder was not selected for the match.

"As Ghana has been defeated I think the tournament will not be interesting any more. Me personally I don't think I'll follow it anymore," another man says.

But Anthony, in a more sporting frame of minds, says: "Football is a game, either you win or you lose. So each and everyone should go to the stadium on Sunday."

On the eve of the match, police across the country warned fans to contain their enthusiasm and not to over celebrate following several fatalities after Black Stars' victories.

This morning they'll be hoping they didn't jinx the result.

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