Ghana sustains African pride at World Cup
- 27 June 2010
- From the section Africa
Ghana's Black Stars are through to the quarter-final of the World Cup after defeating the United States 2-1 in extra time. Will Ross watched the game with fans in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.
This was one long party which was briefly interrupted by an American goal.
When the referee blew the final whistle at the end of extra time the unbridled dancing began across Ghana and beyond.
But there had already been a few parties long before the end of the game.
Even before a ball had been kicked it was clear that the army of red, gold and green supporters was primed for a celebration.
You could not have missed the game even if you tried.
There were screens everywhere - on crowded streets and in the packed bars.
Young men armed with paint brushes and four colours were busy painting the flagless. When the Black Stars are playing if you do not have flag to wave you can wear one on your face.
At a popular drinking spot in Accra's Osu I saw two lonely looking men draped in America's flag - the stars and stripes.
"They look Ghanaian - what are they up to?" I wondered.
"They just want to do something extraordinary, that's all. They are full-blooded Ghanaians," I was answered.
When the Black Stars fans saw Ghana's team arriving at the stadium, the cheer was so big you might have thought the World Cup trophy was being lifted already.
Did people stand quietly for the national anthem?
No chance. The vuvuzelas, whistles and yelps of excitement were not going to be put on hold for anything.
The dancing and singing began when Kevin Prince Boateng struck the opening goal after just five minutes.
The party was rudely interrupted when USA was awarded a penalty.
Before the referee had found his yellow card, the woman to my left had dropped to her knees in front of the TV screen for some fervent praying.
This was not the only call for divine intervention I had witnessed over the last 24 hours.
In Osu the small, basic classrooms of a two-storey primary school are regularly transformed into small churches for all-night Pentecostal services.
"We are confident in your name dear God that the team will be victorious," the priest said in the Twi language on the eve of the game.
He then called on everyone to pray for the players. With eyes screwed shut the congregation clapped furiously and called out their own personal prayers for the Black Stars.
In fact America's equalizer was merely a respite for the dancers and vuvuzela blowers.
They were soon in action again when Asamoah Gyan blasted home Ghana's second - a goal that meant the DJ would not be going home any time soon.
He did not need much of a music collection: The repeat button was leaned on as hips swayed to Shakira's Waka Waka (This Time For Africa) - the catchy World Cup Song which was widely criticised when first released.
It is now putting smiles on people packing dance floors and in bars, streets and living rooms across Africa.
They have tweaked the lyrics here in Accra and these days the chorus often morphs into: "This Time for Gha-na".
The Black Stars haven't just made Ghanaians proud.
Being the only African team left in the cup, they are being cheered on by fans across the continent - all wanting the dancing to continue right through to the final.