Will Ghanaians jubilate after Angola 2010 finals with Egypt?

Children jubilating after the semi-final match against Nigeria

Last Thursday January 28, 2010 when Ghana beat Nigeria to reach the finals of the African Nations Cup tournament in Angola, the streets of Ghana’s major cities and towns were filled by jubilant Ghanaians including children celebrating the feat.

Will Ghanaians celebrate tonight after the game? When the whistle is blown for the end of the final game of the tournament?

Expectations are high in Ghana for victory as the national team, the Black Stars play the Pharaohs of Egypt in the finals of the 2010 African Nations Cup in Angola.

If Ghana wins, it will be the first time in the last 18 years that the team reached the finals of the continent’s most prestigious competition and won – making it the fifth time for Ghana.

Ghanaians least expected their team to make it to the finals, because the team has been ravaged and depleted by injury. All the key players in the team, Michael Essien, John Paintsil, John Mensah, Captain Stephen Appiah, Laryea Kingston are on the injury list, while Sulley Muntari is on suspension for indiscipline.

With a sheer sense of cautious optimism and hope Coach Milovan Rajevac selected mostly members of Ghana’s under-20 team, the Satellites to build a team to compete in the second most popular football tournament in the world after the world cup. Most of these young and inexperienced players were playing in the African Nations Cup for the first time against more experienced teams.

Apart from Andre Ayew and Agyeman Badu, the others like Agyeman Opoku, Kwadwo Asamoah, Isaac Vorsah and Inkoom were new comers.

To make matters worse for Ghanaians, the team lost its opening match against a well organized, more experienced Ivory Coast team. The team went down by three goals to one.

But the coach and players were hopeful, they reorganized themselves after the loss and in a game against a more matured and improved Burkina Faso, the team braced all the odds and won by a lone goal to keep hope alive and move on to the quarter-finals against highly motivated host team Angola. With the entire country, including their president behind them, the Angolans looked better positioned to beat the Stars, but it didn’t happen. The Stars beat all the odds again to sail into the semi-finals with a one goal win over Angola setting the team up for a clash against their arch-rivals, the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

The Nigerians were intent on revenge as they have lost almost all matches between the two teams in recent history. Not many Ghanaians thought the Stars could beat the Eagles, but yet still they were hopeful.  And the Stars did not disappoint, they beat the Nigerians to sail into the finals crushing all hopes that Nigeria had for revenge.

Set against a more tactical, organized and highly motivated Egyptian side, hoping to win the cup for a historical seventh time, the Stars would be playing probably, their match of the tournament and it would be their match of destiny and Ghanaians are waiting with baited breath, and hope of another jubilation.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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