7/2/10

#WorldCup: An African coping with Ghana's Cruel Loss

Yeah I know, it a just a game, even if it's a beautiful one.

I probably should not be writing about Ghana's loss because the pain I feel is nothing compared to the heart break over there  in Ghana. But our support, as Africans, was unconditional and our pride, as the Black Stars bid the world cup  farewell, is immense. And like Cameroon against England in 1990, another loss in the 1/4 final in additional time for an African team after taking the lead.  

Ghana lost in the most cruel way possible and a whole continent shed tears with Gyan, the unfortunate hero of a valiant team, a united team who gave it their all.

Gyan was magnificent before the historical loss against Uruguay, he was heroic during the game, playing his heart out on two bum ankles and then he missed the "unmissable" kick, the penalty kick that would have sent the continent to the top 4 in the final seconds.
It was a scenario straight out of a greek tragedy, a few inches too high, inches too close to heaven.

Despair city, a whole continent gasping in disbelief.

Then came the dreaded penalty kick. I hate those but what a test for one's mettle.

The first guy who comes out from Ghana, is against all odds you guessed it, Gyan. I don't even want to know what goes through his mind as he walked to take the kick.
He kicks it with no hesitation and scores.

The pain is still there after he scores though,  because he knows he needed the first one in the worst way.

The rest of the contest is history. Uruguay makes them as Mensah misses his, totally worn out physically by the battle. Congratulations to Uruguay, talented team who deserved to go continue.

The lesson learned here is the important story. Gyan got punched in the gut in the worst possible way, failing the hopes of billions of people. And yet,  he turned around right away and focused himself enough to kick the perfect penalty, the one that should have been.

Gyan could have declined to kick, fearing what another failed kick could do to him, his career and his country. There was little to gain and so much to lose in kicking again.

But Gyan what we wish most of our leaders on the continent would do. He did not shy away from doing the right thing, he stepped up,  ready to take the blame, yet again, knowing what it could cost him.

Maybe the fairy tale was not meant to be for Africa, not yet at least. Maybe the road to success is paved with these incredibly cruel losses. Gyan showed us how we should face yet another setback.

Pick ourselves up, try again and again. Gyan was inconsolable at the end and I could not help but shed a tear with him. Yes, it's just a game and why in the world would a guy care so much about Ghana, when Takoradi is the closest he's ever been to it ?

Because the Black Stars truly united the whole continent. They played as one so we rooted as one. They made many mistakes but they also had many moments of brilliance and never let go of the hope. They danced together and embraced the support of the whole continent and dedicated their victory to us.

So this Malagasy guy thank you for the lesson in courage, Ghana.  If only your effort can inspire African leadership across the continent and show them how to handle adversity with character, maybe this loss would not be in vain after all.  





 

5 comments:

  1. It was indeed a great game! The amazing part was to try to be in the guy shoes when he missed the first penalty!!! I don't know all the rules in soccer but when there is a goal along with a fault, it should be granted and recorded...like in Basket ball. It was not fair to see that the ball was already all the way in...and then out (with the help of that guy's BOTH hands!). Watching Ghana losing that way was cruel, man. But I have to agree with you, they taught us a lesson of courage...When a continent relays on you and you are losing this way, for us...there was only ONE winning team: Ghana! ~>At least at heart! Coping with you Lova.
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  2. That was a truly disgraceful handball by Uruguay. The referee should have counted that ball in. Then given a red card to that cheat Suarez! Now the hero of his country.
    I disagree with you Uruguay did not deserve to win. They got lucky.

    Thanks for giving me a new perspective on Gyan. Yes that was true courage and guts to pick himself up like that. Still I would have preferred if he had less courage and had kicked that ball a little less high :-)
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  3. Do I wish Suarez would have not used his hands ? Yes, it was the ethical thing to do.
    If the roles were reversed, I am guessing a Ghanean player would have done the same and I probably could find a way to rationalize it. He was red carded and a penalty was given so... I hope the continent will not verse into "woe is us". Had they gone through, a narrative of african success would have been a nice change up.
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  4. I am not sure I agree with the theory that anybody else would have done the same thing at Suarez's place. It takes a special kind of guts and ruthlessness to do what he has done, and I am going to say that I am not surprised it took an Uruguayan player to do it, after all isn't Uruguay the team credited with the "garra charrua", with the kind of ruthlessness and boorishness in the face of adversity that would have propulsed Ghana to the semis had it also possessed it, and not folded during penalty kicks.

    And ...Wondering why the journalists have not versed into the refrain of how Netherlands have crushed the hopes of a whole continent kind of thing that they bored us with, and how Uruguay carried the expectations of South America on its shoulders...
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