The first African World Cup was largely disappointing to the local football fans. One team was a gleam of hope in a dark night for the continent: the Black Stars of Ghana who touched their semi-final dream with the tip of their fingers. They come home as heroes.
Ghana’s senior national football team, the Black Stars, is expected home on Monday night from South Africa to a hero’s welcome after its painful elimination from the FIFA 2010 Worl d Cup.
A statement signed by Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports, Nii Nortey Dua, said ’’an impressive arrival ceremony’’ had been planned for the team and officials.
’’An official government delegation will welcome the gallant Stars back home on behalf of the people of Ghana, and as always the Ministry expects soccer fans to throng the airport and join in welcoming the tea m,’’ the statement said.
Fans who want to join the welcoming party would be transported from the Ohene Dj an Sports Stadium to the airport.
Ghanaians are being urged to continue to display the national colours and come o ut to welcome the Black Stars.
The Black Stars were eliminated from the 2010 FIFA World Cup at the quarter-fina l stage by Uruguay 4-2 on penalties, after the match ended 1-1.
This was after Luis Suarez, a Uruguay attacker, deliberately stopped a goal-boun d header by Ghanaian striker Dominic Adiyiah in the last minute of extra-time in what some commentators have described as ’’chea ting’’.
Ghanaian striker Asamoah Gyan blasted the resultant penalty kick off the crossba r.
The statement said the Black Stars team would embark on a special float through some principal streets of Accra on Tuesday, which will end at the Castle Gardens at the official seat of government.
The team will also be special guests of a special Black Stars celebration concer t at the Independence Square later in the day.
Other activities outlined for the team include a meeting with the leadership of parliament on Friday, special Muslim prayers also on Friday and a non-denominational thanksgiving church service on Sunday.