The inevitable crazed outburst and ensuing bedlam occurred yesterday however, as it was Ghana that became the first African nation to win a World Cup match in Africa and secure its own special place in football’s most treasured annals. The African spirit that has so charmingly arisen since the outset of the tournament was not going to be lost on the players either, as Ghana’s goalscorer, Asamoah Gyan, dedicated his goal and the inaugural win to the whole of Africa.
Unsurprisingly, the ubiquitous and ever-controversial vuvuzelas were again at their deafening best at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, expressing their undying support for Ghana through their interminable buzz. If ever FIFA’s chief executive of the tournament’s organising committee, Danny Jordaan, was even tempted at bowing to the apparent pressure from some quarters to ban the endemic instruments, this writer would be extremely surprised. As highlighted in the first World Cup Morning Report, the vuvuzela is an important symbol of South African identity, and the chance to create a unique African atmosphere and make this special competition their own, should not be denied.
Thankfully Mr Jordaan declared yesterday that the vuvuzela will not become prohibited, stating a ban would only be considered if they were used as weapons or missiles in some way. Given the South African nature and simple desire to celebrate with fellow Africans and other visitors from worldwide as one collective mass, no matter what the results of the matches, this is highly unlikely to happen. Ghana’s win and the confirmation the vuvuzelas will continue to fill the air with an incessant African vibe can only be good for the tournament.
The success of Ghana will surely leave Paul Le Guen’s Cameroon side chomping at the bit as they prepare to face Japan in today’s three o’clock kick-off. The Indomitable Lions are traditionally physical and strong, often demonstrating unrivalled stamina to abet them in their quest for victory. With Tottenham Hotspur defenders Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Sebastien Bassong, as well as Arsenal’s Alexandre Song, there is plenty of youthful exuberance within the side that could combine well with vastly experienced heads such as Rigobert Song and of course the outstanding Samuel Eto’o. They are arguably the best African outfit in the tournament alongside the young guns of Ghana and the plethora of world stars that exist within the Ivory Coast squad. The difference between Cameroon and the Ivory Coast is that the Cameroonians are more likely to play as a team and have some well thought-out plans in place that they can execute effectively. The anticipation for today’s game in Bloemfontein will certainly be soaring rapidly following the explosion of historic African joy yesterday.