16.06.2004 Sports News

Can Ghana Break The South African Jinx?

By Dankyi-Koranteng, Isaac
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Well, all too soon one of the most important matches of our road to Germany has come. Sunday the Black Stars battles the Bafana Bafana boys on our home soil. This match brings to the fore, the question, "CAN BLACK STAR BREAK THE BAFANA JINX¡±?

Ever since South Africa¡¯s entrance into international football, the Black Stars have engaged the Bafana Bafana in 5 matches, out of which the South Africans have dominated with three wins and Ghana's best been two goalless draws.

It all started in 1994 when the stars lost by 2:1 to the Bafana boys in the Simba Four Nation Tour. The jinx continued with the surprising 3:0 lost to South Africa in 1996 at the Africa Cup of Nations. Ghana was heavily tipped by the book makers to win that tournament but that dream was shut with the humiliating results. The damage was done by John Moshoeu (22, 87) and Shaun Bartlett (46). It seemed Ghana was ready to improve its standings with South Africa when they drew with them in a friendly in Pretoria in September 1996 in another Four Nation Tournament but the worse was yet to happen.

Ghana¡¯s expectation to redeem its image against the southern lads in the first ever match between the two sides outside South Africa was heavily thwarted in front of an unflinching support from Ghanaians at the Kumasi Sports Stadium. Siyabonga Nomvete¡¯s 42nd header saw Ghana exit from the African Cup of Nations tournament we co-hosted with Nigeria.

Ghana was bent on settling scores at the CAN 2002 in Mali but ended up with another goalless draw.

It is interesting to note that, out of the 5 matches played, Ghana has been able to put only a goal into the net of the South Africans courtesy Frank Amankwa in 1994¡¯s 2:1 lost to them.

All these not with standing, I believe it is time for Ghana to reverse the situation. And Ghana has what it takes to do so. At the U-23 level, the picture between the two countries was no deferent from that of the national teams. Ghana had earlier on engaged the Amaglug-glug three times with two drawn games and a lost to South Africa. But this trend was convincingly reversed by Ghana this year when the Black Meteors defeated the South Africans for the first time in the history of Ghana soccer in both the home and away matches. The spirit I believe still leaves on.

Further more, the Bafana Bafana boys have not been impressive in the past few years. Their recent slim 2:1 victory of Cape Verde should give Black Stars more hope to settle scores. I¡¯m not just being patriotic, but I believe every thing has an end and so is the South African scare over Ghana will come to and end.

The Black Stars goes into this match with a clear knowledge that, anything less than a win, will mean saying bye-bye to Germany 2006 as well as CAN 2006. It is with this motivation that the Stars will go all out to claim victory. Moreover, the Black Stars have one of the finest set of players on the continent today. Mention Stephen Appiah, Samuel Osei Kuffuor, Michael Essien, John Mensah, Augustine Ahinful, Sule Muntari, Isaac Boakye and many others. This is our time prevail.

Go all out Black Stars, put cheers back on the faces of Ghanaians. The Meteors did it and you can more than do it.

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