03.07.2006 Sports News

Brazil Loses, Ghana Rejoices

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AS though it was a victory for the Black Stars, Ghanaian soccer fans went wild with jubilation on Saturday over France's one-nil defeat of defending champions Brazil at the quarter final of the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Germany.

Soccer fans at Kasoa responded with deafening cheers when France striker Thiery Henry fetched the match winner midway through the second half for the Les Blues.

Both France and Brazil normally enjoy considerable support among Ghanaian fans. For Brazil, it is because Ghana's play style has long been known to be modelled on Brazil's and in fact, Ghana is nicknamed the “Brazilians of Africa.”

France's support in Ghana has been grounded on the exploits of the Ghanaian-born Marcell Dessailly who captained France's World Cup winning team in 1998 and European championship in 2000.
But the scales of support have suddenly tilted against Brazil because most Ghanaians believed and still believe that Brazil was favoured by the match officials in their game against Ghana which earned them the underserved chance to play France in the quarter final.

“God has paid them in their own coin; the referee can no longer cheat for them,” a fan was heard saying, after the goal.

Most soccer fans were unhappy about the Stars' 3-0 defeat by Brazil, blaming Slovakian referee Michel Lobus for poor officiating.

Soon after the referee had whistled for the end of the match that saw the exit of the five time world champions to end their bid for sixth, scores of excited fans poured out into the streets shouting and singing praises to the French team.

The drinking bars and pubs were filled with people mainly discussing the match and the fate of the Brazilian team after the exit.

Mr Abubakari Mohammed, an admirer of France, told the Times that France had played better and deserved to carry the day.

The Stars, he said, could have stopped the Brazilians as well at the one-eighth stage but for the poor officiating.

One fan was heard saying that the world has now seen that Brazil did not beat Ghana on merit but with the support of the referee and his assistants.

From Nungua, Seth Osabukle reports that fans defied the ban on drumming and noise-making and celebrated in style.

Though clad in Ghanaian national colours, the fans, mostly the youth, took to the streets with wild cheers with some insulting the Slovakian referee who handled Ghana's match against the Brazilains.

Drivers responded by the tooting of horns while some residents poured into the drinking spots to discuss the match.
Some of the fans expressed their joy at Brazil's exit.

One such fans, Borketey Bortey said, “I am happy France has avenged our 3-0 loss to Brazil which, of course was as a result of poor officiating.”

Ghana according to him, was the side to have played the French but “unfortunately, Brazil took what it did not deserve through foul means and have paid dearly for it.”

Another fan, Francis Nuerh, said the Saturday's defeat was only a testimony of the fact that no team is invincible, adding, “all the teams are beatable.”

Explaining his excitement, he said, “Ghana and France play very good football.
“More so, Marcell Dessailly remains one of my role models and therefore I feel obliged to support France whenever they play unless it is against Ghana.”

The scene at neighbourhoods like Adabraka, Osu and some parts of the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, was no different, reports Andrew Nortey.

Contrary to the belief that Ghanaians have lost interest in the Germany 2006 World Cup, as a result of Ghana's exit, the fans celebrated and sang songs in praise of the French team.

For them, one thing was clear and that is, “ Brazil is not as fearful as many thought they were.”

According to them, the early goal, coupled with Essien's absence in that second round game was Ghana's bane otherwise Brazil would have fallen to Ghana.

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