Ghana returns to the World Cup after their absence in 2018 and will have the chance of revenge that they have been waiting for 12 years.
In 2010, Ghana was just one penalty away from being the first African national team to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup. In the last minute of extra time in Johannesburg’s quarter-final with Uruguay, tied at 1-1, Luis Suarez committed a goal-line handball to prevent the opposition from scoring and was obviously sent off. It was discussed a lot whether the gesture of the former striker from Liverpool and Barcelona can be considered cheating, but beyond any opinions, the “Black Stars” benefited from a penalty that could mean qualification among the 4 best national teams in the world. But Asamoah Gyan missed, then the South Americans prevailed 4-2 in the penalty shootout.
Africa’s best chance to produce a semi-finalist at the World Cup had just been destroyed, and the regret was all the greater as the tournament took place “at home”. It was also the last time that a representative of the continent reached the quarter-finals at the World Cup. Africa’s best chance to produce a semi-finalist at the World Cup had just been destroyed, and the regret was all the greater as the tournament took place “at home”. It was also the last time that a representative of the continent reached the quarter-finals at the World Cup..
And yet, the opportunity for a rematch might not have existed. A shock draw in Ethiopia forced the Ghanaians to win their final group game at home to South Africa to go into the African qualifiers play-offs. It ended 1-0, through a scored goal – what irony! – from the penalty spot, by captain Andre Ayew. Then things got complicated at the start of 2022. Considered among the favorites at the Africa Cup of Nations, Ghana was eliminated from the group stage. Not anyway, but from last place, with only one point obtained in matches against Morocco, Gabon, and Comoros.
After their disastrous Africa Cup of Nations campaign, Milovan Rajevac was sacked and the task of leading Ghana’s side in their play-off doubleheader with arch-rivals Nigeria fell to Otto Addo. Former Ghanaian international, he was part of the “Black Stars” team at the 2006 World Cup, the first participation in the history of this national team. He was born and spent his entire playing career in Germany. However, he chose to represent his parents’ country, and his peak as a footballer was the two games in the final tournament 16 years ago.
After he retired, he started coaching. Also in Germany. He was also second in Dortmund, a position from which he won a German Cup. Last year, he was named second in the Ghanaian national team. After Rajevac’s departure, he was promoted to interim. He prepared for the play-off double with arch-rival Nigeria and did it well. Ghana qualified after 0-0 at home and 1-1 away and extended their 15-year unbeaten run against the Super Eagles.
By qualifying for the World Cup, Otto Addo has already entered Ghana’s football history. He is not only the youngest coach to lead the “Black Stars” to the final tournament, but also the first Ghanaian to go to the most important competition in the world both as a player and as a coach.
In Qatar, Ghana is part of a very strong group. Portugal, South Korea and Uruguay, which we have already mentioned, are the opponents of the Africans. Ranking in one of the top two places is not an easy goal for Addo’s team to achieve But the 47-year-old coach has a lot of quality in his squad, a very interesting mix of experience and youth. The former is represented by captain Andre Ayew, while the new wave is led by Ajax’s excellent Mohammed Kudus, who is coming off an outstanding season in the Champions League.
Ghana has the resources for another major World Cup result. If it comes after a decisive match against Uruguay, so much the better.