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8TH December, 2013
The groups of the 2014 World Cup have been drawn and Ghana is in group G, with former Champions Germany, European powerhouse Portugal and CONCACAF giants USA.
Many Ghanaians are in despair but we should fear not.
Here is why. First, the world cup has a habit of producing surprises—and quite a number of the surprises have involved African teams. Here are a three:
In 1982, West Germany was stunned 2-1 by Algeria. It the end, it required a collusion between the West Germans and the Austrians to deny the Algerians qualification from the group stages.
In 1990, Argentina was the defending Champions and they had on their team one, Diego Maradona, arguably the greatest player in World history. Four years earlier, at the famous Azteca in Mexico City, they had lifted their second World Cup and many were tipping them to repeat as world champions. Cameroon stunned them with a 1-0 victory, courtesy of a 66th minute header from Francois Oman Biyick, and their reign as champions was over.
Count one for Africa.
In 2002, France, in the first world cup in Asia, the French was basking in the glow of a World Cup victory followed by a European Championship when they took the field against their former colony, Spain. The match was supposed to be a walk in the park for the glittering French side. When it was over, Senegal was victorious from a Papa Bouba Diop goal and soon the French ended up being eliminated.
Count another one for Africa.
It has been done before and it can be done again and if any country can do it, Ghana can.
Remember the Germans? They are in our group and we are being told that they are invincible? Shiaa!
The Portuguese required a playoff to get past Sweden into the world cup and they are invincible? Twiaa!!
As for the USA, we are their bogey team—we have beaten them before and can beat them again. Those points from them belong to us.
Second, this competition is being played in South America, where the Europeans have never triumphed in a world cup and the weather is more likely to be to our liking.
Third, African countries are likely to have a lot of support from the Brazilian fans, many of whom have historic toes to Africa.
But while hoping for the best, we must prepare.
First, we need to comb the world for all our players who can help us be the best.
Second, we need the best minds on our bench. Coach Appiah and his team have done well by bringing us this far but they can use some help. The Brazilians have recalled as their coach, Louis Felipe Scolari, their 2002 winning coach to help them win their record sixth. But despite the fact that Scolari is a world cup winner, they paired him with Pereira as Technical Director. The latter happens to be their winning coach for the 1994 world cup in USA in 1994. As coaches like Mourinho and Del Bosque have demonstrated, even good teams need great coaching. Could we get Appiah some help?
Finally, we must build the “esprit de corps” of our team. As we approach the tournament, we must be constructive in our criticism of our team.
Let them march forth into Brazil and like Senegal and Cameroon before them, take down some champions.
Ghana Osee Yieee!!! Yiee!!! Yieeeeee!!!
Arthur Kobina Kennedy
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