When players of the Black Stars were protesting for the monies and subsequently kissing their 100,000 dollars bundled cash on live television, there was no reckoning that it could be the start of an unending period of apathy and disaffection for the side.
Like a faithful wife who caught her husband cheating, so did Ghanaians feel about the players’ decision to replace love for country with love for money. It’s a sharp knife that was pierced through the hearts of Ghanaians and it may take forever to heal.
It was an utter betrayal of the love and trust of Ghanaians who always held the players in high esteem with the notion that unlike the politicians who were obsessed with milking the country, the Black Stars players loved the Ghanaian and always stepped on the field with the primary aim of making the citizens proud.
That singular act in Brazil destroyed every bit of affection people had for the team and the players continued to be antagonized for the bad seeds they sowed at the world’s biggest football festival.
As Ghana football struggled to pick itself up from the mire, Anas released his Number 12 documentary that exposed deep-rooted corruption in the sport.
That piece also reaffirmed assertions by Ghanaians that football is manned by a bunch of selfish and corrupt people who hold their interest higher than that of the entire country.
Those two incidents have been etched in the memories of Ghanaians that they have become the image of Ghana football in the last couple of years.
But before the Brazil and Anas’ expose´, football particularly the Black Stars were the nation’s pride. Football was a tool for unity and a rallying point for patriotism and nationalism.
Let’s take a look at some of the moments football brought pride to Ghanaians
2006 World Cup
After 49 years of independence and so many failed attempts, Ghana finally made it to the World Cup. A surreal moment for every Ghanaian and a period that we still look back on with pride and delight.
The Black Stars’ paraphernalia, Grace Ashy’s song and wild jubilations greeted the nation’s first-ever participation in the World Cup.
On the field, the players gave Ghanaians more than enough reasons to flood the streets and celebrate. Victories against Czech Republic and the United States sent Ghana to the round of 16 of the tournament and despite a 3-1 mauling at the hands of star-studded Brazilian side, Ghanaians hailed the players for the fight they put up.
2008 Africa Cup Ghana followed up the grand celebration of its 50 years with the hosting of the 2008 Cup of Nations.
The Black Stars enjoyed tremendous support from the country. Across the length and breadth of the country, there was love everywhere and so were the expectations.
In Essien, Appiah, Laryea and Muntari, Ghana had some of the continent’s best players and these players delivered at every stage of the competition to make Ghanaians happy.
Stadiums were always full and every victory recorded by the team was widely celebrated like it was a final.
Ghana fell on N’kong’s sword in a semi-final tie against Cameroon. 2004 Hearts vs Kotoko in Confederation Cup final It’s always great moment when two clubs from the same country make it to the finals of any major tournament.
Hearts and Kotoko contested the final of the first edition of the CAF Confederation Cup and it was a moment to savour for Ghanaians particularly fans of the two nations.
Hearts defeated Kotoko 8-7 on penalties to win the ‘Virgin Cup’.
Winning 2009 U-20 World Cup
The Black Satellites went to the land of Fathia and brought home a historic trophy.
Ghana made history as the first African nation to ever win the World u-20 Championship.
Andre Ayew, Ransford Osei, Jonathan Mensah and Adiyiah were among a crop of young players that made Ghanaians proud by beating Brazil on penalties to lift the cup.
2010 World Cup
The 2010 World Cup is without a shred a doubt that highest point for the Black Stars and Ghanaians in the last three decades.
The Stars came out of the group stages being the African country to reach progress which earned them love from multitudes across the continent.
The entire country erupted when that Asamoah Gyan shot went past the United States goalie to rattle the net.
Ghana’s joined an exclusive list of African countries to have made it to the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
The same Gyan who sent the team to the quarters also fluffed a last-minute penalty against Uruguay.