The Ghanaian and Botswanan contingents at the on-going Abuja'2003All Africa Games partied all-night Wednesday in celebration of their respective victories in the football and athletics events of the games.
The Ghanaians, who came back from the death against Zambia to clinch the bronze medal in the soccer event in the third place match decided at the J.U Esuene Stadium in Calabar, painted the Games Village yellow and black in celebrating their hard earned victory.
The Ghanaians, who have been unimpressive at the games so far, described the soccer bronze as the turning moment in the dwindling fortunes of their football and an indication that their once powerfull Black Stars will rise again.
Most of the Ghanaian officials who spoke with THISDAYsports said the victory against the Zambians who held on to the lead till the last 36 seconds of the game, has lifted years of gloom that has hung on their nation and restored hope that given the proper preparation, the Ghanaian soccer can once more be a force to reckoned with in Africa.
To them, the third place finish in the highly competitive soccer event was like gold, because for years now the under performing Black Stars who will be missing from the Tunisia'2004 Nations Cup finals, has not won any laurel for the soccer-mad nation that has lifted the Nations Cup four times.
The tiny kingdom of Botswana, who stunned bookmakers to win the men's 4x100 relay event, their moment of glory couldn't have come at a better setting than the All African Games and they made a meal of it, painting Abuja red with that epoch victory.
The landlocked country who were joined in the celebration by their South African neighbours, could not believe their luck when their quartet outpaced host and favourites Nigeria to grab the gold medal.
Botswana officials who described the historic victory as their biggest win since they started participating in the continental fiesta, said their government will reward the althletes generously when they return to Gabrone next week.
The Namibians, who were bolstered by the men's 200 meters silver won by their legend, Frankie Federicks, also joined the all-night party to honour their track king who announced his retirement from the continental sporting fiesta, shortly after the event won by Nigeria's Uchenna Emedolu.