Go, Black Stars, go!
Go, Black Stars, go! Website
A tale of a country yearning to impress and another of a country craving for sheer survival will define this evening's Group A clash between Ghana and Morocco at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in Accra in the ongoing Africa Nations Cup (Ghana 2008). And as the two teams stage one of the group's last two games (the other between Guinea and Namibia in Sekondi will be played simultaneously, the players will re-enact an almost similar situation that confronted the two countries at the 1980 Nations Cup in Nigeria. Memories of that fateful March 16, 1980 clash provide a perfect scenario to the possibilities that face Ghana as the Stars take on the Atlas Lions. On that occasion 28 years ago, Morocco put paid to Ghana's advancement in the tournament when the North Americans beat the Stars 1-0 to advance to the quarter-finals at the expense of Ghana. In fact, although both teams finished the group on equal points and equal goal difference, the Moroccans had scored more and qualified on that strength. It happened at a time when the Stars were two points ahead and needed a draw to quality. The story of how the Moroccans returned to their hotel to unpack their luggage and watch with strong emotions as the then defending continental champions packed out is well chronicled in the records of the Nations Cup. Majority of the squads in both camps today may not have been born then but the pressure brought about by their separate situations evokes another passionate encounter. Ghana's Black Stars are confronted by a crowd that has shown impatience at missed scoring chances but Morocco's desperate battle with fate now appears even more daunting than the draw Ghana requires to reach the quarter finals. Amidst the criticisms that have flowed in his direction, striker Asamoah Gyan has maintained calm nerves and remains coach Claude Le Roy's first choice to start in the Stars attack. And in spite of what he admits to be a difficult tournament, Gyan's fine turns and general work rate may provide the right foundation for a solid performance by the Stars against the likes of the experienced Youssef Hadji to get into the quarter- finals. Meanwhile, The Chairman of the Retired National. Footballers Association (RENFAG), Nana Gyau Gyan, has made a passionate plea to Ghanaian football fans to be patient with the Black Stars lead striker, Asamoah Gyan, and the rest of the team as they undertake their Africa Cup of Nations campaign. Nana Gyan, a former player of the Black Stars who is known in private life as Agyeman Gyau, made this plea in the wake of the verbal attacks on Asamoah Gyan for missing too many chances in Ghana's game against Namibia last Thursday. In a release, the RENFAG chairman also thanked the fans for their massive support for the Stars so far. "The competition is tough and, therefore, we should be tolerant and not go to the extreme to destroy the confidence of the players. “It is not over until it is over," he said. Nana Gyan also urged Ghanaians to encourage the players, since they were there to make Ghanaians proud. Asamoah Gyan's performance in last Thursday's game attracted a lot of vilification from the fans at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium and subsequently in the media.