Thank you Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to also add my voice to this Statement to congratulate the Black Stars.
Mr Speaker, indeed, what has been achieved by the Black Stars is a landmark achievement not only for Ghana but for the whole of Africa. It, indeed, proves to be a soothing balm to the many challenges that we have as a nation. South Africa has invested so much and it was painful that the hosts were ousted at the level where they were ousted. The burden of carrying on the African cause has come to fall on
If he is not able to respond to them, then of course, there are consequences that may come. But today is not the time for such a matter to be raised, so I am not raising it, Mr Speaker.
As has already been noted by my Hon Colleague from Sekondi, the display of the Stars last Saturday was the best that they had displayed in the tournament thus far. One would say that as they are progressing, they are also progressing with their ball play. For the first time, we saw that they played as a team, they played as one unit, they played as one band and they played to complement each other; they played for each other. Mr Speaker, they displayed commitment, they displayed diligence, they displayed resilience and that is all that matter in a team playing at that level.
Without doubt, the technical proficiency of the players could be witnessed by everybody and so the technical proficiency is not in doubt at all. What some people have been talking about is the tactical disposition of the team; that has been their concern, and in particular, we have spoken about the weakness of one person whose negativity was adversely affecting the game plan of the collective.
12. 25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we thank God that the concerns raised by many Ghanaians who follow football with keen interest and with passion have been heard by the ears that ought to have heard earlier .
Mr Speaker, I believe that as we progress, we are learning and I believe
if they play the way they played against United States of America, the hurdle being posed by Uruguay would indeed, be surmountable.
Mr Speaker, we must however, be cautious. In any match, if the performance of a goalkeeper turns out to be very superlative, then Mr Speaker, we should know that we are exposing the goalkeeper too much and if we are exposing the goalkeeper too much, it does mean that any slip could result in something undesirable.So we should know that we are in a difficult situation and as we progress, the heat becomes greater.
Mention has already been made about the rankings of the teams in the tournament. All of them rated higher than Ghana. But Mr Speaker, we have traversed that course before. 2006, when we played Czech Republic, at that time, they were the third ranked in the world; we met and we subdued them.
When we met United States of America, Mr Speaker, at that time, they were the country rated 8th in the world, we met them and subdued them. So with courage, dedication, resilient, commitment and playing together as a team, we believe that they could surmount the impediment and the hurdle that would be posed by Uruguay.
Mr Speaker, let us urge the players
on, they have done it, they can do it and I believe we are capable of reaching the semi - final level for the first time in the history of Africa.
The other day when we were playing Serbia, I was a bit cautious because in 1974, when Zaire represented Africa, they lost to Poland by just one goal; the next match, they lost by one-two; the third match that they played was against Brazil and they were trounced six goals to nil.
Mr Speaker, at that time, the coach of Zaire was a Brazilian.