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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Friday, 2 July 2010

The Hope of Africa - The Black Stars

Africa kicks off the Quarter Finals with Ghana playing Uruguay.  Tieing Senegal and Cameroun, they are the third African team that has been able to go this far in the World Cup.  I think they can go the distance.  Not because of sentimentality, although that is definitely a factor, but because the boys want it.  They realise the importance of this and have taken to the World Stage with such aplomb.  People have been saying they are young, and this has shown in their unnecessarily flourished play and unwise choices, but I think they have been learning as the tournament has progressed and have learned to check their egos.  At this level it is no longer about talent and tactics.  It's about desire and passion. I just hope they are able to overcome their injuries that have been plaguing them since the Africa Cup earlier this year.

I think the game with the USA showed this.  I personally think that the US underestimated the Black Stars, even though they had beaten them in the group stages of '06.  My roommate disagrees, but I think that the starting line-up reflected this.  I don't think that the US coach really thought about who they were playing.  The commentators on ESPN were going on about how Ghana hadn't scored in regular play and had only advanced on penalties and so this proved that they couldn't go the distance.  The USA had been wronged in the group stages but were able to come through, but you can't win the World Cup by drawing, you have to find the win, no matter how.  And that is what Ghana did.  They came out guns ablazing and within minutes were up 1-0.  I know there was the controversial penalty that gave Ghana the win in 2006 but the one given to the US in 2010 was bogus, there was not enough contact there what was that???!!!

The USA are almost there when it comes to competing in the World's favourite game, but to really be a force in world football you have to play for the love of the game first, and to win second, not the other way around.  There is too much pressure put on results in American culture, instead of finding joy in the process.  You need to enjoy football because it is the most heart wrenching game played.  You have to be able to get past the bad calls, the divots on the pitch, and the amount of work it takes to get the ball in the net.  And the only way to do that is to enjoy playing for the sake of playing.  It's not about how much money that you throw at it, how many training camps for young players you have, it's about understanding what football means and loving it.  It's not something that can be learned, you need to have it coursing through your veins.  I do not remember ever not loving football.  It is just the way.  You see it and you love it.  No one has to convince you.  

I have come to the conclusion that the reason that Ghana has come this far is because they are young, full of passion, have nothing to lose and have a player that is the fruit of Mr. Boateng's loins.  This theory is made all the more credible by the fact that the other team I am impressed with that is in the Quarter Finals is Germany.  And they are young, full of passion, have also made a coupla silly mistakes and also have a player that is the fruit of Mr. Boateng's loins.  Prince and Jerome are brothers! I rest my case ;}! Unfortunately the boys are feuding over the injury that caused Ballack to miss the World Cup.

The Black Stars have to win tomorrow not only because my heart can't take any more drama, but also because innocent people may suffer the consequences.  When the score was 1 all at full time I called one of my best friends, R4L and she knew why I was calling and purposefully sent me to voicemail. So I left her an awful message berating the Black Stars and threatened to abstain from all things Ghanaian, meaning I would not speak to her again if they lost.  Luckily they got it together and Gyan scored within minutes of extra time and all was well.  We later buried the hatchet.  Got a call from Ghana from OXFORD SHIRT and told her to slap about a coupla Ghanaian boys to let them know that even though the Black Stars got through, I was not impressed by the need to go into extra time to get the job done.  Now it is at the point where if there are any more shenanigans, R4L, OXFORD SHIRT and COMBINE (who is in South Africa and could have direct contact with the team if she wanted because she is one of the most resourceful people I know) will suffer the consequences.  And my little one FOOLISH FOOL, who always tells me that the Black Stars will make it will be demoted to village idiot status! There is no more room for error.  I want an African team in the Final and if my sangoma who is on probation at the mo manages to get it together we hopefully get the first African win to boot.  

The only way is to dream big.  By stifling our potential in order to make small triumphs and self-protect we ultimately only limit ourselves and deny the world progress.  Yes it is a risk, but when you dare to achieve success at a greater level, the impact is infinite when you succeed.

We should not underestimate what this game will do for Africans not only in football, but in our lives in general.


Here is a video R4L found of the Black Stars celebrating after their Round of 16 win.  Hopefully we will all be like this again soon!

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