USA vs. Ghana: Ghana carries the hopes of a continent on its shoulders
Ghana's Black Stars are Africa's last remaining team in the World Cup. A win against the United States would take them through to the quarter-finals.
There is something fitting about Ghana carrying the hopes of a continent on its shoulders.Skip to next paragraph
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The Black Stars are flying the flag for Africa as the continent's last remaining team in the World Cup. A win against the United States in Rustenburg would take them through to the quarter-finals, equaling the achievement of Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002.
Off the pitch too, Ghana has become a flag-bearer for a continent.
Elections held in 2008 ran smoothly despite the government candidate losing by the narrowest of margins. There was no attempt to rig the vote, nor was there a refusal to hand power over to the opposition – a marked contrast from the higher profile elections in Nigeria, Kenya, and Zimbabwe which were all deeply flawed.
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Ghana has always liked to see itself as a shining example to the rest of the continent.
It was the first sub-Saharan country to win independence, in 1957, and its first president, Kwame Nkrumah, was the father of pan-Africanism. He also understood the power of sport, and particularly football, in promoting those ideals. Nkrumah created Ghana's first national team, personally christening them the Black Stars, and he was a big supporter of the Confederation of African Football.
Although the country subsequently suffered under a series of military leaders, the return of democracy in 2000 with the election of John Kufuor and the smooth handover to John Atta Mills in 2008, indicated Ghana's revival. US President Barack Obama even chose Accra as the venue for his speech on the future of Africa, during his first visit to the continent as president.