We Ghana win it!


Almost a billion Africans are standing behind Ghana's Black Stars - the continent's last hope of keeping the World Cup on home soil.

The team face mighty Uruguay tonight at the 97000-seat Soccer City, which is expected to be packed with Ghana fans.

Africans' massive support of the team was hailed yesterday as "healing" and "unifying" by Ghana Football Association president Kwesi Nyantakyi, who said: "We enjoy the support that we're getting from the whole of Africa. Even in the troubled spots, such as Somalia and Sudan, people are cheering, and that is the colour of football.

"It brings unity, international solidarity and good neighbourliness. We see ourselves as one and that is why the Black Stars of Ghana are being supported by everybody."

Supporters rallied in Sunnyside, Pretoria, yesterday at a concert by local musicians organised by the Gauteng government to drum up support. It will move to Yeoville, Johannesburg, today and to the public viewing area in the city's Mary Fitzgerald Square, where fans from around Africa are expected to gather.

Solomon Laryea, from Accra, Ghana, insisted that his team will take the trophy home: "We have a great feeling. With the whole of Africa behind us, we'll win."

Others - from Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria and Tanzania - screamed support for the team.

In Yeoville, Ghanaian flags flew on cars, shops and taverns. Resident Peter Shimilo said: "Ghana must do well. They are our brothers. Ghana is the new Bafana."

Referring to Uruguay's 3-0 thrashing of the home side two weeks ago, Ghanaian Thomas Atedago said his team must beat the Uruguayans "like they did to Bafana".

World Cup local organising committee boss Danny Jordaan said Ghana will stand as an example to other African sides.

"The prospects are amazing. We have the possibility of an African team going beyond frontiers reached by any African team before," he said.

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane urged locals to rally behind Ghana.

Nyantakyi said this sort of unity is not expressed in other continents

"In Africa, we consider ourselves as one and the same people, with a common objective and destiny. That's why we support one another."