The path to the knock-out stage of the South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup is bumpy if not tortuous for the senior national team, the Black Stars. And American motivational speaker John Mason could not have put it in a more succinct way. “The road to success is always under construction”, he states. The road to success is invariably under construction.
Warriors are prepared to face difficulties in their quest to getting victory. They know the battle is tough and the fight gusty, but they are prepared to brave the odds and win something their supporters will be happy with. They put a nice smile on face of their fans having zipped the loud mouth of the enemy. Victory is best celebrated when it is a hard-fought one.
Warriors are smart people. They know exactly who their stumbling blocks are. They identify them not for identification purposes. Knowing them is one thing and devising ways and means to defeating them is another. Warriors are more interested in drawing up strategies to decimating their enemies than just identifying them. Identification without a winning strategy is unacceptable as far as warriors are concerned.
Stumbling blocks make it impossible for warriors to get a sweet victory. So, what should they do when people block their way to success? The answer is simple. They must do everything to uproot the blocks, that way the path to glorious glory will be smoother than before. They will enjoy an almost uninterrupted journey to “gloryland”.
What if the stumbling blocks are impossible to be removed? Now, the warrior is sad, for the fight is more difficult than he had anticipated. He gets fitful sleeps and spends sleepless nights drawing up plans and strategies to getting the better of the opponent. He will only be happy if his strategies work to perfection. He will dance in endless joy if a bitter pill is forced down the throat of an enemy.
Warriors do not differentiate between a tough battle and an easy one. For them, every battle is a battle. They hardly underestimate the strengths of their opponents. They are all too aware about the dangers associated with underrating an opponent. “Never underrate an underdog until it has had the chance to bark” is etched on the minds of warriors.
The Black Stars of Ghana are warriors. They do not only play on the field but fight as well. The look on their faces anytime they sing the national anthem of Ghana tells a whale about their fighting character. They kill themselves for the country they represent and nothing comes between them and the country they love so much.
They are not playing in a World Cup; they are playing in War Cup. Warriors love War Cups more than World Cups. They love War Cups so dearly. In War cups, football turns into footwar. The grimace on the face of players and the vicious tackles defenders go in for tell a lot about the “South Africa 2010 War Cup”.
The warriors could not be proper warriors as they failed to get maximum points from an Australian team which played with ten men for seventy minutes following the sending-off of experienced Harry Kewell. The former Liverpool winger handled Jonathan Mensah’s goal-bound shot on the goal-line and referee Roberto Rosetti unhesitating whistled for a penalty.
Asamoah Gyan was again on hand to convert the spot-kick expertly. The silky forward sent Mark Schwarzer the wrong way, registering his third World Cup goal. The equalizer somewhat clouded Richard Kingson’s blunder which gifted the Soccceroos the opening goal. The Wigan shot-stopper was a hapless victim of the unfriendly jabulani.
The 1-1 result throws Group D wide open as all members have a mathematical chance of making the last 16. The Black Stars are in a very awkward position as they have to get point(s) from German at all cost. If Ghana is able to get at least a point from the Germans, it goes to the knock-out stage irrespective of the outcome of the Serbia-Australia clash.
Ghana’s coach Milovan Rajevac is pleased with the result. “The result is quite good because we have four points now. We will see how things go against Germany. Even if we had won, the last match would still have been very important”, the Serbian told the press in a post-match interview.
“You see, there is no game won in advance at the World Cup and we can regret our missed chances today, but this is football. I’m saying again, we would have been in the same situation even if we had won and had six points. To a certain point, Australia now have got themselves more involved and I think Serbia will also be playing Australia for the result, so there are many different combinations”, a non-smiling Rajevac said.
Now the Black Stars are at the “Round 16 junction”. They are at the greasy junction with co-passengers Germany and Serbia. The battle for an enviable 1/16 berth will be fiercely fought. Teams will fight until they is no blood left in them. Teams will fight until their bodies get tired. Team will fight until they are blue in the face. They will fight with all their strength.
The performance the Black Stars exhibited against Australia last Saturday may not have been an awe-inspiring one, but it is a performance that gives Ghanaians a bit of hope. It is a performance that will push us to the next stage of the competition, a feat Ghana achieved four years ago and are still capable of achieving.
We will take the bull by the horn in our final Group D game against Germany. We will play as though we are possessed. We will play our football as if our very existence dwells on it. We will play, run, kick and jump. We will cover every blade of grass on the rectangular field, chase every ball and play our hearts out.
We know our destiny is in our own hands. When your destiny is in the hands of others, it is difficult to breathe. But when it lies in your own hands, you can feel a bit more relaxed. And that is exactly how the Stars are feeling ahead of the crucial tie. The pressure is not on Ghana; it is on Germany who are in a must-win situation. They need to get maximum points else they kiss their World Cup dreams goodbye.
Ghana will hardly disappoint against Germany on Wednesday night. Disappointing their fans will be the last thing the players will do. They know hearts will break and tears will flow in the unlikely event of a disaster. Conversely, they know hearts will rejoice and smiles will be on faces if they secure qualification to the Knock-out stage of the FIFA World Cup.
Tomorrow, we come face-to-face with our date with destiny. By the end of the day, we will know what fate has in store for us. The best way to predict your destiny is to create it. The Black Stars of Ghana have created their own destiny and predicting it is not difficult. The junction is curvy and the road slippery but with determination as a weapon, we will fight for what is to be.