Sports

South Africa 2010: Ghana’s biggest challenge ever

By  | 19 March 2010 at 23:10 | 1459 views

Commentary

There are only a few months left until the first football (soccer) World Cup in Africa starts. Time to take a look at the opponents of Africas teams. We will start with Ghana’s opponent, Germany.

The three times World Champion (Germany) is probably going to be the toughest job for the young and ambitious team of the Black Stars. Germany’s football in 2010 is not different from it’s characteristics in the past. It is not first class in playing the perfect pass or scoring phenomenal goals, but the German team is physically strong and has very good stamina.

National coach Joachim "Jogi" Lw has the agony of choice in terms of announcing a goalkeeper as number one. The only thing that is certain is that one of the three top candidates will become first choice keeper. Either Ren Adler (Bayer Leverkusen), Manuel Neuer (FC Schalke 04) or Tim Wiese.

For whomever Lw is going to decide - and it’s probably Adler - is going to be a really good goalkeeper. The weak point is a few meters in front of Adler/Neuer/Wiese: the central defence. Only Werder Bremen’s Per Mertesacker is fit for international standards. Serdar Tasci, Heiko Westermann or Arne Friedrich weaken slightly from time to time. Assisted from Munich’s Philipp Lahm, they have to give their best to form a strong defence.

Many players fight for the midfield position. It all depends on the courage of Lw, whether he gives the top talents Toni Kroos and Thomas Mller a call for the squad. Leverkusen’s Kroos and Munich’s Mller are the shooting stars of the season in the German Bundesliga. With them, captain Michael Ballack from Chelsea and Bastian Schweinsteiger, the midfield would possess long missed qualities in the offense.

A point the Germans won’t have to worry about are the strikers. Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomez gave joy to Germans in numerous international matches. Stefan Kiessling is currently top scorer in Germany. Second in this ranking is Kevin Kuranyi, who - although sorted out by Lw - would have the quality to travel to South Africa at least as backup.
To put it in a nutshell: It’s going to be very hard for Ghana to win the game against Germany. Nevertheless with the ambitious appearances of the African Cup of Nations, they could be good for a surprise. It won’t be impossible.

The Placing of the 2010 Football World Cup with South Africa is a big step for the whole continent. To stage an event of such extensive relevance has let the people of Africa cheer - and the europeans cheered along. A World-Cup in South Africa.

It was an odd feeling within the non-African nations. A feeling similar to humanitarian aid. Back-slapping all around. But the closer the first kick-off, the more the critical voices increase. The supporters step back or object with rallying calls. The opponents come out of hiding - like Uli Hoeness, President of German record-champion Bayern Munich, who recently stated, that he has never been a friend of a world cup in Africa. But thinking that this has something to do with the attack on the Togolese squad bus at the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola is only a pretense. Africa would be Africa and Angola the same as South Africa comes not beyond a cracker-barrel - in Europe as well as in North America. It is rather a kind of irrational fear of the unknown. Sure, most people know someone who used to spend his holidays in Africa - maybe they even have some African friends. But it is new, that the whole world looks on Africa.

And being new or unknown results in fear. As long as it has been far away, the enjoyment to explore unknown spheres predominated. But now, since the date of the first kick-off comes closer and closer, the doubts grow from minute to minute. The faith - even if desired - is not entirely present. South Africa has the chance, represantative for the whole continent, to convince the rest of the world that it is in the constitution to conduct such an event without incidents. The doubts about African organisation and talents would break off abruptly.

But that’s the risk, too. If South Africa does not succeed, if tourists would be harmed or even players or officials - if this comes to pass, Africa would waste the big chance to gain the trust of the rest of the world for a long time.

Photo: The Black Stars, Ghana’s national soccer team.

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