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Soccer News Sun, 19 Jun 2005

Ghana in an unstopable move towards Germany

Johannesburg (SA), June 19, GNA - South Africa, until last Saturday were on the highway cruising towards Germany 2006 before the Black Stars erected a massive romp on their way, and now, that course seem to be winding as the road has been plagued with lots of potholes. And directly opposite the South African road, Ghana's has been asphalted and their engines overhauled as the vehicle seem destined for Germany next June.

But the Black Stars road was rehabilitated, courtesy a sweet 2-0 away victory to now eternal rivals Bafana Bafana at the FNB Stadium before some 60,000 "vuvuzela" blowing home fans and without any doubt, look destined to make a historic World Cup appearance among soccer greats in Germany.

Mathew Amoah silenced the entire Stadium in the 59th minute before most expensive Ghanaian player Michael Essien put the icing on the cake on the stroke of full time to empty the 80,000 seat capacity stadium before the referee could blow his final whistle.

But the Stars had to survive two early scares from veteran striker Shaun Bartlett who started the game only after passing a late fitness test and an aerial suspect by goalkeeper George Owu coupled with a second half threat by South African Siyabonga Nomvete.

And immediately, the entire South African nation called for the sack of coach Stuart Baxter who they claimed had helped to erode the sporting pedigree of the Bafana Bafana.

The fans say on his assumption of his job, South Africa recorded their worst away defeat at the hands of Ghana, a side they had beaten in 1996 even with Abedi Pele and Tony Yeboah featuring.

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Granted that it was an away match, the South Africans could not come to terms with a 2-0 home loss, at a venue they have not lost a World Cup qualifier since 1996.

And if the Ghana defeat was painful, they see their first defeat to DR Congo as humiliating and that the coach has only helped to derail their third successive World Cup appearance dream.

The players were not spared either. After complaining of an undulating pitch in Kumasi, the fans said they simply had no excuse to lose on a smoth turf with massive home support. Bafana Bafana have two tricky ties against DR Congo at home and Burkina Faso while Ghana have comparatively easy task against Uganda and Cape Verde Island, making them favourites to go to Germany.

Coach Baxter can only survive in South Africa only on the magnanimity of the Football Association, but that would largely depend on the temperament of the fans, especially the Black community in Soweto. His opposite number, Ratomir Dujkovic is enjoying the support of Ghanaians and the devotion of his young players who are motivated by making history than an 8,000 dollars wining bonus.

The coach told GNA Sports after the match that one foot of the nation was in Germany and that what was needed was the commitment of the players to execute the job.

But Ghana has been at this stage before in her previous World Cup dream but it just fizzled out. So history guide the coach to make sure that the "vehicle" does not skid off the high asphalted road. 19 June 05

Source: GNA
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