11.02.2008 Editorial

Ayekoo, Stars

By Daily Guide
Ayekoo, Stars
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At long last, the continental soccer fiesta whose fever gripped Africa and the rest of the sports-loving world like wildfire has come to an end.

All of us as Ghanaians have cause to pat each other on the back for successfully hosting the tournament even though the ultimate goal of laying hands on the prize cup was lost to us.

We lost it but not the glory of participating in the tournament as one of the leading sides who put fear in our opponents.

Ghanaians have indeed exhibited the sportsmanship required in competitive sports, a feat which no doubt primes us for future international tournaments.

The tournament brought out the best in the Ghanaian- hospitality and nationalism- which call for a celebration of sorts.

Even the hordes of visitors who stormed the country in search of sports fun harbored no remorse at the end of it all because they found in the Ghanaian the proverbial hospitality still flourishing.

The patriotism which was in full flight throughout the length and breadth of the country was not in short supply as the games lasted.

No wonder critical observers hoped this quality would remain a feature of Ghanaians, transcending politics.

For the period that the tournament continued, politics appeared to have been moved to the backburner as Ghanaians dwelt on the dream of scoring goals for their motherland.

If only patriotism could be made to overshadow divisive politics which is sometimes exploited by self-seeking individuals in the name of politics, what a great nation ours would be.

The fervour with which we tackled the tournament is perhaps unprecedented in the history of competitive sports in Ghana. When preparations for the tournament were on, doubting Thomases expressed apprehension about our ability to host it. In the end, we came out tops, having put in place all the structures and the needed human touch to see us through.

There are halcyon days ahead and we hope that our gallant Stars would grow in stature to meet the challenges of the future.

It is important that their compatriots have confidence in them and are ready to lend the needed support to ensure that the banner of the country flutters at full mast.

May Almighty God continue to bless our country so that the motto, Freedom and Justice, will not be a mirage but an indelible feature.

The enhanced stature which our hosting of the tournament brought to us, and the dazzling performance of the Stars were invaluable.

We remained the focus of the sports-loving world, a development which brought with it an exalted diplomatic dividend.

Ghanaians living abroad felt proud of their nation as they followed with keen interest proceedings on the pitches.

Their prayers and hopes, including those of their compatriots at home, went a long way in seeing us through the tournament.

Like we mentioned earlier, the tournament was a two-pronged affair- successfully hosting it and putting up an impressive and sportsmanlike performance- both of which we achieved.

Ghana, divided by a boiling pot of communities yet bound by same umbilical cord of nationalism can do better with managing democracy, the recent tournament has shown.

Our unfettered gratitude and those of other Ghanaians are due the Stars whose indefatigable efforts brought us this far and reaped us the unquantifiable dividends.

Some of them heeded the national call and came from their well-paid soccer engagements elsewhere around the world to lift high the nation's banner.

They were not humiliated as they ably projected the name of their country to the admiration of both their compatriots and the rest of the world.

May ours be a country where we all are our brothers' keepers, able to resist oppressors' rule and shun the mischief-makers.

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