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  • on 02.07.2010
  • at 11:20 AM
  • by Staff

‘Up and Coming’ black stars can create history 0

Johannesburg Ghana carry the hopes of a continent into Today’s World Cup quarter-final against Uruguay, seeking to keep a bright light shining amid the disappointment of a dismal tournament for Africa.

The only one of the six African sides to make it past the first round, the Black Stars can create history if they beat their South American opponents and progress into the final four.

No African side has ever gone past the last eight at previous World Cups but Ghana believe they have as good a chance as any team to make it to Tuesday’s semi-final, possibly against Brazil.

“Ghana is the only one African team remaining on African soil and I believe that all African countries are behind us. They are giving us good motivation and support,” said captain John Mensah.

“I believe we can go to the semi-finals. We are up and coming. When we began, it was a little difficult but now our motivation is growing. I believe that if we continue with extra hard work, we can go higher.

“It was very important for us to win because we know that Africans are proud and we are playing on African soil.”

But Mensah might not make the game after sitting out training this week, posing a threat to Ghana’s hopes of dealing with the threat of Uruguay’s much-vaunted attack.

Strikers Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez have five goals between them in the tournament so far and are arguably the most exciting attacking duo seen in the World Cup finals for several decades.

Jonathan Mensah is already out, suspended, although Isaac Vorsah returns after two games out with injury.

Coach Milovan Rajevac has given no indication whether he will finally hand a start to star player Sulley Muntari, benched for his latest run-in with authority. At this World Cup, Muntari has been used only as a substitute, a gamble of sorts but one that has so far worked.

Dede Ayew has been brilliant out wide where Muntari might have played but Ayew is suspended for Today’s game.

Muntari is favoured to be selected but there is also the option of playing , the best player at last year’s World Youth Championships, and Prince Tagoe, who plays in the Bundesliga.

On the other side, Nigeria is facing the risk of being suspended by all of the international competitions.

As ESPN reports today, Nigeria are facing possible suspension by FIFA following President Goodluck Jonathan’s announcement that the country’s football team will be banned from competing internationally for two years following their poor World Cup performance.

Nigeria players console each other after going out of the World Cup.

Jonathan’s decree includes the Nigerian Football Federation being dissolved and an interim board appointed. FIFA’s rules specifically prohibit governments from involvement with the running of national federations and it has the power to suspend any federation where there is evidence of such interference.

FIFA communications director Nicolas Maingot said: “The worst sanction available is that a national association can be expelled but this is not related to either of the two cases.

“In terms of Nigeria we have received official information from their government. We are looking at both cases. FIFA has a very clear position on political interference but it is premature to speak further about either case.’

The decision was also under fire internally, with Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC) chairman Otunba Yisa Olatunde Basorun claiming it would not help the team

But Former NFF chairman Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima told the BBC the government was acceding to the wishes of the fans. “The Nigerian people want reforms carried out in the national football team following a string of poor performances by the Super Eagles in the past years. So it is only natural that the government acts according to the will of the people,” he said. [It] is a welcome development.

By  Mark Gleeson Allafrica.com and  ESPN

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