Today marks exactly a decade since the Black Stars of Ghana was prevented from reaching the semi-final stage of the first World Cup hosted on African soil.
The reasons were an unlikely handball and a missed penalty. Many Ghanaian hearts were shuttered and many lost interest in the Stars.
It was an eruption of noise at the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, packed with Africans with few pockets of Uruguayans as vuvuzela sounds filled the air.
Back home in Ghana, many stayed glued to their television sets and giant screens mounted across the country with high expectation that the Stars would make it to the semi-finals stage.
It was in the last minute of extra-time, when a goal-bound header from Ghana’s Dominic Adiyah was stopped by a deliberate handball – courtesy Luis Suarez.
Ghana’s joy of being awarded a penalty was short-lived as his lead striker Asamoah Gyan popularly known as Baby Jet’s shot struck the bar.
Amos now a student of the Ghana Institute of Journalism was only a 12-years-old at the time of the tournament in 2010. He revisits how he and his family dressed up in their replica Ghana jersey’s as many other Ghanaians as they watched the crucial quarter-final game. He had sleepless nights after the game and it took him days to recover.
“At the time, anytime I tried to sleep I remember some of these things. Since then, I have not really been into Ghana matches,” Amos told Henry Kwesi Badu.
Even after ten years people still argue as to who was the best person to have taken the penalty in the last-ditch moment of the game.
Samuel Kojo Attiogbe, a mechanic in Accra wishes the missed penalty could be erased from his memory.
“God gave Ghana a penalty and a way into the semi-final stage. At that moment I was so elated, my wife even promised to make me happy. But all our joy turned to sorrow after the missed penalty,” he recalled.
Former Blacks Stars goalkeeper was in the post for the national team on that faithful day. He recounts how he felt dizzy after Asamoah Gyan’s shot struck the bar.
“Before we had the penalty, I heard a voice in me saying ‘hold your heart. So when Asamoah [Gyan] missed the penalty, I had a black out. Later, I felt like I was no more there so I wanted to be changed because I was off. But we had already used our three substitutes,” he told JoySports some months back.
Former Captain of the team Stephen Appiah speaks about the game too. He says “when Suarez used his hand to clear the ball from the post, I saw the linesman running towards the centre line.”
“So with that reaction, I thought he had accepted it as a goal…The vuvuzelas was so noisy that the referee was a bit confused. It took him some 10 seconds to decide it was a penalty,” he explained.
He further clarified “I didn’t want to take the penalty. Asamoah was the right person to take it.”
Ten years on we revisit the game that remains the most memorable match of the 2010 World Cup for Ghanaians. A nightmare in Ghana’s football history. Maybe, the country may get another shot at the semi-final in the coming years.