By: Ridwan Adeola Yusuf
To his people in Montevideo, he is a hero; to Africans, a villain he is.
After Africa’s remaining four representatives – the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Cameroon and South Africa had crashed out of the biggest football showpiece; all hopes dashed in the continent, yet with a handful of trust on Black stars.
In a closely contested quarter final encounter at the Soccer City, a Sulley Muntari strike on the stroke of half time gave the Ghanaians the lead and Africans were elated. Just ten minutes after the break, the specialist himself, ‘Master Jabulani’, Diego Forlan converted a free-kick to level scores. As the game grew, both team had good chances but failed to convert them. Few seconds to what would have been a record-breaking moment for an African side, Luis Suarez handled a goal-bound ball right on the touch-line. Expectedly, he was red-carded, but Asamoah Gyan hit the spot-kick against the cross-bar much to the delight of Suarez who was already heading down the tunnel.
Uruguay went on to win the tie 4-2 on penalties, ditching whatever is left of Africa’s dream of reaching the last-four of the FIFA World Cup. Cameroon and Senegal had reached the last-eight before in 1990 and 2002 respectively. It was truly a remarkable end to an extraordinary match. But if you ask a Ghanaian why an African team is still yet to reach the last-four of the FIFA World Cup, he will tell you “Luis Suarez” and not “Asamoah Gyan”. What an irony, you may want to say.
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