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12.10.2005 Football News

Cameroun media on Blackstars (Ghana at last)

By Raymond Yeboah
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The West African nation will be making its debut in the prestigious World Cup next year.

The Black Stars of Ghana have qualified for the final phase of the World Cup for the first time in history. They picked their qualification ticket last Saturday after beating Bafana Bafana of South Africa, 2-0 during the last round of the World Cup qualifier in Johannesburg last Saturday.

The Bafana Bafana team found it hard to over come the prowess of Ghana's Black Stars led by team captain Stephen Appiah and midfielder Michael Essien. Ghana's old age dream of qualifying for the final phase of the prestigious competition has now come true thanks to the team ethic of Serbian coach, Ratomir Dujkovic, and a sprinkling of star quality. Ghana began as group two leaders and secured their place till the end.

Ghana's football pedigree leaves much to write home about. They won the African Cup of Nations four times and the Under-17 World Championship twice. Ghana has also had considerable success in continental championships. The Black Stars of 2005 set about this year with a singular purpose and climbed almost undetected into first place in the group before eventually winning it by five points from South Africa and Zambia. The appointment just before Christmas of Serbian coach, Ratomir Dujkovic, had much to do with their achievement. His arrival was initially met with much scepticism in the country, even if, 18 months earlier, as coach of Rwanda, he had engineered Ghana's failure to qualify for the 2004 African Nations Cup.

Ghana began their journey to the World Cup spot in 1962 when they entered the qualifiers for the first time. Since then, failure has been a recurring theme till now.

The pairing of captain Stephen Appiah and Michael Essien in the midfield added much to the team no leaving out the skills of Udinese's Sulley Ali Muntari and Dutch-based Matthew Amoah. Ghana now has a new role as arguably the side who offer Africa the most hope at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Of the five teams who will represent the continent, it is the Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire who appear to have the best chance of making their mark. It might have taken a long time in coming but the Black Stars are now firmly in the world spotlight. Ghana went into the final day as the best-placed of all the group leaders and they ensured their maiden trip to the World Cup finals with ease.

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