Ghana ready to make World Cup history

Ghana Football Association president Kwesi Nyantakyi believes the Black Stars are ready to make World Cup history.

For the third time an African nation has reached the World Cup quarter-finals. This time though, it is different.



With the most glamorous tournament being held in Africa for the first time, hopes were high that there would be a strong representation in the latter stages.



Unfortunately, as the only side to make it out of their group, Ghana have been left to shoulder the burden alone.



Yet Nyantakyi insists they are strong enough to carry it and beat Uruguay at Soccer City to break new ground by taking Africa into the last four.



"It is a huge opportunity for us to make history," said.



"We expected to have a number of African teams challenging at this World Cup but in fact there is only us. That is a huge burden of responsibility.



"But we can cope. Our aim is the final.



"The only team that has ever won a World Cup outside its own continent is Brazil. We want to maintain that record by winning it ourselves and really showing the world what African football is all about."



Ghana's achievement in coming through a group containing fellow quarter-finalists Germany, Australia and Serbia is made even more remarkable by the fact their star man, Chelsea's Michael Essien, was ruled out of the tournament by a knee injury.



Yet, unlike the Ivory Coast, who were largely expected to be Africa's best team, the Black Stars are not constructed around a couple of brilliant individuals with clear weaknesses elsewhere in their team.



Progress had started by 2005, when they were named the most improved team on the planet by FIFA.



The following year they reached the World Cup finals for the first time, making the last 16, where they lost to Brazil with a side whose average age was only 23.



Progress continued with a third-placed finish at the 2008 African Nations Cup, going on to become defeated finalists earlier this year to an Egypt side who did not reach South Africa.



Most importantly of all, they won the Under-20 world championship last year, confirming progress is being maintained, just as Nyantakyi always knew it would.



"We implemented a programme of development that was achievable and sustainable," he said.



"We identified talented players at Under-12, Under-15 and Under-17 and our performances have risen steadily.



"It means there is a consistency in our performance.



"Most probably these players will still be around for the next World Cup - and they will still be in their 20s, so there is a lot more to come from us."



Nyantakyi is correct. Of the 23 players on duty in South Africa, 15 are aged 24 or under, including Asamoah Gyan, scorer of the winner against USA in the last round, and Portsmouth's Kevin-Prince Boateng.



The only drawback is that the Ghanaian public do not get a chance to see their team play very often.



With the vast majority of their players based in Europe, most friendly matches are played away from home, even the ones Ghana are hosting.



There is a simple economic reason for this, although Nyantakyi does not view Europe as the great ogre it has been painted for taking young star struck players out of Africa.



"Europe has a positive impact on our football and on our national team," he said.



"Most of our players play there. The facilities and opportunities are obviously so much better than we have in Africa.



"We do play our 'home' matches in Europe. But that is purely down to the practicalities and financial reality.



"It is easier for our players to get to London than pay for them all to travel back to Ghana.



"In addition, we get to play in good stadium and, even more importantly, we find it easier to sell sponsorship."



Sponsorship will be far easier to come by should Ghana go even further in them competition.



It is now two decades since Pele made his famous claim that an African team would win the World Cup in the 20th century.



That deadline has long since passed.



But in Ghana, there is a team who could yet make the dream become reality.



"When Pele said that the continent was still taking baby steps football wise," said Nyantakyi.



"Now we have five teams at the World Cup, six this time because South Africa were the hosts and, apart from Europe and South America, Africa is the only continent with a representative in the last eight.



"It is only a matter of time before an African team wins the World Cup. And don't discount it being us."



News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
Arts and Entertainment
Pink Floyd on stage at Live 8 in 2005. From left to right: David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Rick Wright
music New album The Endless River set to overtake boyband for most pre-ordered of all-time
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right