The scene was perfectly set for the Black Stars to make their first appearance in the penultimate stage of football’s biggest show, the FIFA World Cup. Holding the much fancied Uruguayan side to a 1-1 draw and with 119 minutes on the clock, Ghana were handed a lifeline when Luis Suarez deliberately handled what would have been one of the most important goals in World Cup history.
The referee Mr. Olegario Benquerenca rightly awarded Ghana the penalty and who else but Asamoah Gyan (the Black Stars record World Cup goal scorer) stepped up to the plate to score what would have otherwise been his most important goal ever.
Had Gyan scored, Ghana would not only have been the first African country to qualify for the semis, but he would have also matched Roger Milla’s record of 5 World Cup goals.
Of course as you know, that did not happen. No need to try and dissect what went wrong or what Ghana should have done, that’s all in the past. The entire continent now has to wait another 4 years to see if we will ever break this ‘curse’.
That said, it is had to ignore the sombre mood that has engulfed the entire continent. From East to West, North to South words cannot explain the feelings being expressed. They were so close but yet so far.
Ghana’s hero turned villain Asamoah Gyan has however stated that he will recover from this dark episode.
“I’ll bounce back, I’m strong mentally. I had the courage to take the penalty, but that’s normal, I’m the penalty taker,” he told the press after the game.
“But that’s not the game, now he [Luis Suarez] is the hero in his country, the ball was going in, he stopped it and I missed the penalty. That’s the way it is.”
I hope it is as easy as he says. Even if he recovers from this ordeal, he will forever be remembered as the player who missed the penalty that could have taken Ghana to the semi finals. Getting rid of that tag will definitely take years.
Photo credit: from prismatico