Give way, here come the ‘Black Stars’

 Daniel Amartey

Ghana's defender Daniel Amartey (left) and Ghana's midfielder Thomas Partey (right) take part in a training session at Aspire training zone in Doha on November 23, 2022, on the eve of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football match between Portugal and Ghana.
 

Photo credit: Khaled Desouki | AFP

What you need to know:

  • However, Ghanaians are hopeful. With the quality of players assembled, Otto Addo does not feel the West Africans are way behind in terms of quality.
  • “Nothing is impossible,” he says. The supporters of this team believe so, too. No one would have thought Argentina's 36-game unbeaten streak would be ended by Saudi Arabia, and neither would anyone have thought Japan will beat Germany, but in a game football, nothing is impossible.

Moments like the World Cup are special. It's the stage every player wants to be, it's the stage every coach wants to experience.

As the Ghana Football Association (GFA) President, Kurt Okraku, put it, qualifying for the World Cup is like “making it to heaven.”

I don't know if he has been to heaven before, so I will definitely not say it is an exaggeration, but if there's anything this stage symbolises, it is pride and prestige.

Not many footballers have witnessed a World Cup and not many fans know how it feels to celebrate a World Cup goal.

But, Ghana and its citizens are an exception. Ghana’s “Black Stars” are participating in their fourth World Cup, having been to Germany 2006, South Africa 2010, and Brazil in 2014.

The team missed out in the 2018 edition when the tournament took place in Russia.

The stars are back to the league, and the butterflies of being here are palpable.
As captain, Andre Ayew put it in Wednesday's pre-match press conference, “if you don't have the butterflies, you are not human.”

Those butterflies exist not just because of Manchester United outcast, Cristiano Ronaldo, but it's because of the all-around quality of this Portuguese team.

A group of incredible substance led by an incredible player football gods will forever adore.

However, Ghanaians are hopeful. With the quality of players assembled, Otto Addo does not feel the West Africans are way behind in terms of quality.

“Nothing is impossible,” he says. The supporters of this team believe so, too. No one would have thought Argentina's 36-game unbeaten streak would be ended by Saudi Arabia, and neither would anyone have thought Japan will beat Germany, but in a game football, nothing is impossible.

Give way, Qatar, here comes the Black Stars - Africa's football royalty!

In the Portuguese camp, meanwhile, Portugal coach Fernando Santos claimed that Ronaldo’s acrimonious split from Manchester United had not been discussed by the players to his knowledge.

“In our time together on the pitch, whenever we’re together, playing and training, the conversation has not come up at any moment, not even from him (Ronaldo),” he told a press conference.

“If they’re talking about that in their rooms alone, I can’t say. The players are absolutely focused, with a great spirit, convinced about what they have to do, what their objectives are and realistic about the challenges they are facing.

“Winning a competition of this magnitude is difficult.”

Abdulai is a Ghanaian journalist reporting for Nation Sport embedded in the ‘Black Stars’ camp in Doha.

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