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20.06.2005 Sports News

Ghana in an unstoppable move towards Germany


(From: Daniel Kenu, GNA Special Correspondent in Johannesburg, South Africa. Courtesy, Ministry of Education and Sports.

Johannesburg (SA), June 20, GNA - South Africa, until last Saturday were on the highway cruising towards Germany 2006 before the Black Stars erected a massive romp on their way, and now, that course seem to be winding as the road has been plague with lots of potholes. And directly opposite the South African road, Ghana's has been asphalted and their engines overhauled as the vehicle seem destined for Germany next June.

But the Black Stars road was rehabilitated courtesy a sweet 2-0 away victory to now eternal rivals, Bafana Bafana at the FNB Stadium before some 60,000 "Vuvuzela" blowing home fans; and without any doubt, look destined to make a historic World Cup appearance among soccer greats in Germany. Mathew Amoah silenced the entire Stadium in the 59th minute before most expensive Ghanaian player, Michael Essien put the icing on the cake on the stroke of full time to empty the 80,000 seating capacity stadium before the referee could blow his final whistle. But the Stars had to survive two early scares by veteran striker Shaun Bartlett who started the game only after passing a late fitness test and an aerial suspect by goalkeeper George Owu coupled with a second half threat by South African Siyabonga Nomvete. And immediately, the entire South African nation called for the sack of coach Stuart Baxter who they claimed had helped to erode the title sporting pedigree of the Bafana Bafana.

The fans say on his assumption of the job, South Africa recorded their worst away defeat at the hands of Ghana, a side they had beaten in 1996 even with Abedi Pele and Tony Yeboah. Granted that it was an away match, the South African could not come to terms with a 2-0 home loss, at a venue they have not lost a World Cup qualifier since 1996.

And if the Ghana defeat was painful, they see their first defeat to DR Congo as humiliating and that the coach has only helped derail their third successive World Cup appearance.

The players were not spared either. After complaining of an undulating pitch in Kumasi, the fans said they simply had no excuse to lose on a smooth turf with massive home support. Bafana Bafana have two tricky ties against DR Congo at home and Burkina Faso while Ghana have comparatively easy task against Uganda and Cape Verde Island, making them favourites to go to Germany. Coach Baxter can only survive in South Africa only on the magnanimity of the Football Association, but that would largely depend on the temperament of the fans especially the black community Soweto. His opposite number, Ratomir Dujkovic is enjoying the support of Ghanaians and the devotion of his young players who are motivated by making history than an 8,000 dollars winning bonus.

The coach told the GNA Sports after the match that one foot of the nation was in Germany and that what was needed was the commitment of the payers to execute the job. But he must be told that Ghana has been at this stage before in her previous World Cup dream but it just fizzled out. So, he must be told the truth and let history guide him to make sure that the "vehicle" does not skid off the high asphalted road else, it would be his worse moment yet in hi coaching career.