Africa bagged on Sunday its first three points of the first African World Cup thanks to Ghana. No time for euphoria, the Black Stars want to focus on their next game, saturday, against Australia.
After witnessing his young team beat his native country of Serbia on Sunday, Ghana head coach Milovan Rajevac told his players to cut short their celebration and instead focus on the next game with Australia.
Rajevac explained the victory had been down to relentless hardwork.
“We worked hard as a team and got a fine result for it. I said at half time to the players this could be decided by a mistake and in the end that is what happened,” he said.
“We have scored a really important victory but there are six more points to play for so we have to forget about this and focus on our next game against Australia.
The most important game for this tournament is the next one and I hope we will show the same desire.”
Ghana scored at minute 83 of the game, through a penalty kick, by Gyan.
The happiness expressed by the Africans after the end of the game was an explosive one, due to the expectation before and throughout the game.
Rajevac admitted to being saddened by Serbia’s loss but there is no doubt that the Serbian who took his position on the bench spotting a red, yellow and green colours of Ghana as his neck tie has done his stock as a coach a world of good with the opening day victory.
Ghana’s Black Stars insist they will snap out of the euphoria that engulfed the team after their opening victory over Serbia at the 2010 World Cup and concentrate on the task of reaching the second round of the tournament.
Captain John Mensah said it was important that the Stars “are not too happy” after the victory.
“Today it was important that we did not lose but there is a lot more work to be done. Australia is next and that is where all our focus must be.”
A stadium more usually home to Springboks rugby matches was transformed into an authentic arena for Africa’s unique way of enjoying football – very noisy and very colourful.
Ghana fans, decked out in their striking national colours of green, yellow and red, danced in the stands throughout and even formed jigging groups on the pitch level concourse – something stewards would prevent in most continents.
Local South African fans gave their backing with vuvuzelas used in a coordinated rhythmic fashion, rather than the drone that has been heard at some of the earlier games and there was no doubt they were supporting their fellow Africans.
Ghana’s John Pantsil, who caused controversy at the last World Cup by celebrating a win by waving the Israeli flag, was the first to race to the crowd at the final whistle and grab a giant Ghana flag.
He sprinted around the field while the crowd in the stands tumbled around in delight and his team-mates danced in the centre circle.