The Biblical adage which states that: “The stone that the builders rejected, has become the cornerstone,” can be likened to the performance of the Ghana Black Stars in the ongoing Nations Cup in Angola.
The Ghanaians entered the competition as one of the less-fancied sides, and the competition experts did not give them a dog’s chance, taking into account the absence most key performers of the squad, who missed the Angola ‘boat’ due to injuries and on disciplinary grounds.
It was Skipper Stephen Appiah’s injury that first hit the team’s camp, followed by that of his deputy, John Mensah, then John Paintsil and later Laryea Kingson. Though included in the team, Michael Essien and Anthony Annan later developed injuries that rendered them ineligible to participate in the tournament. Inter Milan midfielder, Sulley Muntari, was, however, dropped purely on disciplinary grounds.
An SOS had to be sent to Getafe’s midfield ace, Derek Boateng, but he declined, citing his manager’s unwillingness to release him, due to the short notice. What complicated matters for the Ghanaian team was the predicament that befell the acting skipper, Michael Essien, who was supposed to serve as a huge source of inspiration for his young compatriots, after playing just 45 minutes in the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire game.
The injury ravaged the Black Stars team, thus confirming the ratings by the connoisseurs of the game that Ghana could not be classified among the favourites in the 27th edition of the Nations Cup tourney.
Even most Ghanaians expressed little faith in the Black Stars’ ability to go beyond the group stages of the competition.
The team did not impress in their opening game, where they lost to Cote d’Ivoire, the pre-tournament favourites.
However, the Stars bounced back with a lack-luster performance to beat their Burkinabe counterparts by 1-0, to advance to the quarter final stage of the tournament.
There were still some skeptics who believed that the Stars might have bitten more than they could chew in their quarter final date against host nation Angola.
At this same stage of the competition, pre-tournament favourites, Cote d’Ivoire were knocked out, proving that while rankings are done on paper, the actual football is played on the field.
But, the Stars again, proved their critics wrong, by recording a slender win over the competition’s host.
For a team that comprises of debutants and a chunk of members of the U-20 World Cup winning squad, they deserve the whole nation’s support at this stage of the tournament. The stone that the builders rejected has indeed become the cornerstone, upon which the future of the Black Stars would be built.
The Chronicle wishes to salute our gallant Stars for their valiant performance so far, and as they cross swords with their West African rivals, Nigeria, in today’s first semi-final clash, we wish to urge them on, to scale the last hurdle to the finals. It is our greatest hope and prayers that they come home with the silverware.
To borrow the words of America’s first black President, Barak Obama, “Yes We Can.” The Chronicle believes that the Stars can achieve it, and there is no way that Nigeria’s Super Eagles will fly above our Stars in today’s clash.
Shine Stars, shine.
Source: The Chronicle /Ghana
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