MANY Ghanaians, presumably, are of the view that Ghana’s image in Brazil as regards football may have been destroyed because of the shambolic performance exhibited by the Black Stars in that country, two years ago.
That thinking may have been informed by the embarrassing events that characterised Ghana’s participation at the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament, which eventually led to a discomforting first round exit.
In one of the nation’s sour moments at the World Cup, the government had to fly $3million (R31.7 million) in cash on a chartered plane to Brazil to pay the appearance fees for the Stars after the players threatened to boycott the last group game against Portugal.
Another petrifying incident saw midfielder Sulley Muntari physically assaulting a member of Ghana team’s Management Committee, Moses ‘Mospacka’ Armah, eventually culminating in his dismissal from camp together with Kevin-Prince Boateng who also had a serious spat with Coach Kwesi Appiah.
Incredibly but heartily, these supposed ‘sins’ means nothing at all to Brazilians – and it seems Ghana’s image remains intact in the famous South American country. Truth is that, Brazil still reveres and glorifies Ghana football, two years after those appalling incidents.
Indeed, they have forgotten all about that. What they claim is still freshly etched on their minds is that stupendous football artistry Ghana demonstrated to hold Germany to a nail-biting 2-2 drawn game during the group stages of the campaign.
The Germans, however, proceeded from the group to hand Brazil a humiliating 7-1 white-washing in the semi-final stage of the tournament.
“We still remember Ghana v Brazil. It was a great game and we think you (referring to this reporter), should have won that match.
“In fact, for me, it was the finest game of the tournament,” says Pedro Santos, an assertion echoed by his cousin, Felipe Gomes.
Speaking in Portuguese through an interpreter Amanda Lima, another football fanatic, 27-year-old Leonardo Araujo, predicted Ghana to win the World Cup one day “if you people plan effectively well ahead of the tournament.”
Many other fans who spoke to the Times Sports at the Barra Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro at the weekend, shared this assertion.
When asked to name two of Ghana’s current players, three others struggled, but the fourth fan – Rivaldo – surprisingly mentioned Asamoah Gyan, Andre Ayew and Harrison Afful. It was simply an incredible sight to behold.
Perhaps, it explains why Brazilians passionately see football as a religion. And, they think they must follow every country’s ‘religion’ as far as that nation can deliver the ‘Samba’ kind of football they so much adore.
From: John Vigah. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil