By Paul Bassey
This is the first World Cup on African soil. Some say given the organizational bar raised by the South Africans, perhaps it will take South Africa again to host the next one. This is Africaâ€™s World Cup and there has been a lot of efforts to make it an â€˜African World Cup.â€™
By Saturday afternoon, Ghana held the brightest prospect for an African celebration and against Australia there was all the belief that the Black Stars were poised for the maximum points that would not only have catapulted them to the top of the group, but put them in a good stead for the final confrontation against a wounded Germany.
Contrary to all expectations but true to the character of this World Cup, it was Australia that went ahead, first. Shocks, shocks and more shocks, yet with the pedigree inherent in the Ghana team there was the belief that it was just a matter of time before the equalizer came and of course the eventual winner.
When it came, it came with a blessing.Â Red card to Harry Kewell, a penalty and Assamoah Gyan stepped forward for the much needed equalizer.
Here, the Super Eagles theory came to play. According to the Super Eagles Theory, I quote â€œWhen a team gets a red card, that team no matter the quality of opposition is condemned to lose, no matter the scoreline at the time the red card was givenâ€.
This theory therefore meant that the Australians were condemned to an avalanche of goals, especially against a team that was considered superior to them. But that is exactly the opposite of what we saw. Rather than sit down on the floor like Yobo and concede defeat, the Australians gave the Africans a fight for their lives.
At a point I had to pray for the referee to call off the match and save the Ghanaians the agony of a possible defeat. I did say earlier that how I wish we had the full points. Now against the Germans, it would not be easy. History has it that the last time the Germans lost in the group stage was in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico when Denmark beat them 2-0.
History also has it that that year they rallied back to beat even the host Mexico on their way to a final that they lost narrowly to Argentina 2-3. I am sure this will be playing positively in the subconscious of the Germans. On the other side of the coin Serbia after losing to Ghana and beating Germany will fancy a victory against luckless Australia for six points.
If this happens, then Ghana just have to go for broke. Until that happens, call me Koffi, let me savour four points from two matches. Not bad if you ask me.
A DIFFERENT TEAM
Fabio Capello,the Italian coach of the three Lions of England has expressed his disappointment with the output of the players he has used so far and has decided to make some drastic changes when he faces Slovenia on Wednesday.
Lars Lagerback should be thinking along those lines. The only difference being that he must seek FIFAâ€™S permission to rejig his team by sending home some of the players he took to South Africa and recalling Eneramo, Peter Utaka, Victor Anichebe, Onyekachi Apam and Michael Odibe among others. Please FIFA, please.
Friend, colleague and brother, Ade Obisesan of the AFP, who incidentally reads me religiously has called to point out that I said the match against South Korea was scheduled for June 26. Far from it. Thanks for the correction. That high tension match looms closer than I wrote. It is on Tuesday, June 22 in Durban kick off 7.30 pm same time as the Greeceâ€“Argentina match in Polokwane. Thanks Ade.
See you tomorrow