Ghana Loses, Africans Still Proud

Published July 2, 2010

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Africa's last World Cup hope ended Friday with Ghana's loss to Uruguay in a penalty shootout, but supporters across the continent say they are still proud of the team.

In Burkina Faso, however, fan Seydou Tiendrebeogo was in tears after watching the game on a big screen television in the capital, Ouagadougou.

"Ghana has ruined the dreams of the continent," Tiendrebeogo said.

Elsewhere in Ouagadougou, supportive chants of "Ghana! Ghana!" rang out after the final whistle, and fans noted that Brazil was also knocked out Friday and France did not make the final 16.

In a statement, South Africa's governing African National Congress said it was impressed by Ghana's performance, which proved Africans were capable of playing at the highest level.

"We are also very confident that the lessons learnt from this tournament will put Africa in a better position for the next World Cup in Brazil," said the ANC, which had urged South Africans to support Ghana after South Africa became the first host nation to fail to reach the final 16.

Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria and Ivory Coast have also been eliminated.

Muslim fans in Guinea had appealed for Friday prayers in support of Ghana, and sacrificed chickens according to the rites of traditional religions.

Ghana forward Asamoah Gyan hit the crossbar with a penalty in the last kick of extra time after Uruguay forward Luis Suarez was sent off for handling the ball on the goal line. Uruguay won the shootout 4-2.

In Yeoville, a central Johannesburg neighborhood that is home to immigrants from across Africa, strains of Shakira's official World Cup song, "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)," rang out from bars after each of Ghana's successful penalty kicks. At the end, somber fans walked slowly home.

Musa Badjie, a fan in Gambia, was angry.

"This is football, not handball," he said. "The right decision would have been to validate the Ghanaian goal and give a red card to the Uruguayan player who used his hands to push the ball back in the field of play."

In the Liberian capital, businessman James W. Saye Kea said Ghana had still made history.

"I have every reason to support Ghana," he said. "Just that I am disappointed by the defeat."

Ghana is only the third African team to reach the final eight. Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002 lost their quarterfinals.

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Associated Press writers Jonathan Paye-Layleh in Sierra Leone, Brahima Ouedraogo in Burkina Faso, Lesego Motshegwa in South Africa and Aboulie John in Gambia contributed to this report.


 

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Written by <P>DONNA BRYSON, Associated Press Writer</P>

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