As I sat in the media tribune in Rustenburg during the Ghana-USA match, it did strike me as a bit odd to see former U.S. President Bill Clinton sitting right next to Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones. But, then again, maybe it was appropriate, because Royal Bafokeng Stadium was ROCKIN’ for most of the 120 minutes of football between the Ghanaians and the Americans. There were almost 35,000 fans at Royal Bafokeng, the smallest of the 10 World Cup venues here in South Africa, but the place was very, very loud.
Maybe Mick and the Stones should played their song “Start Me Up” for the Americans, who once again gave up an early goal, and then had to fight back for much of the match against “The Black Stars” of Ghana, who now say they will carry the flag for Africa at this first football World Cup on African soil. As an American, I’m sad to see the USA team packing their bags, but I’m very happy to see the Ghanaians being the pride of Africa at this soccer extravaganza.
Ghana has one of the proudest pedigrees in African football, and a history that includes three-time African Footballer of the Year Abedi Pele. I’m sure Abedi is very proud of his son, Andre “Dede” Ayew, who was named Man of the Match in the Ghana-USA game. Speaking after the big victory, Ayew said the win was not just for Ghana, but for all of Africa.
“I think we need to fight for not only ourselves, but for all the other African teams, too, that left us,” said Ayew. “And I think it’s great, because I’m 100% sure that they are behind praying for us. So, we need to make the whole continent proud. And yes, we feel like we have a continent behind us, we have Africa behind us, and that has given us a lot of energy to fight more.”
Ayew talks about energy. The Americans didn’t seem to play with real energy against “The Black Stars” until the second half. When you reach this stage of football’s premier event, you have to play with energy from the opening whistle. Ghana was a deserving winner against the USA, and I know many African fans are now hoping they can use the energy of a continent to go farther than any African team in World Cup history.