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First African Win

Text by Rosemary Mroba Gaisie/Twenty Ten and photos by Arnaud Thierry Gouegnon/Twenty Ten and Oupa Nkosi/Twenty Ten

Associated features on Ghana: Daily living to a fan (Photo feature), Soccerscapes (Photo feature), Ghana's Black Queens (Photo feature), Second hand goods (Photo feature), Ghana's future stars (Photo feature), A female football fan (Photo feature) and Sports commentators (Photo feature)

Location: Accra, Ghana

The first African country to win a 2010 FIFA World Cup match.

June 13, 2010 is a day that may never be forgotten by Ghanaian football supporters. It will go down in history as the day that the national team, The Black Stars, became the first African team to win a match at the 2010 FIFA World Cup

The whole of Ghana went into a frenzy when prolific striker Asamoah Gyan scored the only goal of the first group D match through a penalty kick at the end of their game against Serbia.

Jubilation in the nations’ capital, Accra, was so intense that many television viewers were unable to pay attention to the remainder of the game. Shops, offices, homes and the streets were filled to capacity as fans celebrated the win. Many, clad in the national colours: red, gold and green with the black star, had their faces painted in support of their team.

The most popular viewing centre (Obra spot) at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle was the place to be. Ghanaian soccer fans, both young and old, could not help but make a joyful noise.

Residents of Odorkor Official Town in the Accra Metropolis expressed their joy with the popular South African vuvuzela cheer. The elderly marched through the streets with the popular ‘jama’, a group of people singing to whip up morale. Women and children were not left out of the momentous celebration. They came into the streets in their numbers shouting “goooaaaal” and singing praise to the Black Stars with special mention of Asamoah Gyan. “Asamoah Gyan you are the best”, “Black Stars you are great,” they cheered.

A news presenter on the national television (GTV) broke protocol by blowing the vuvuzela trumpet prior to the start of the major news bulletin for the evening. The joyous feeling was a common feature in all the ten regions of Ghana. The people of Northern Ghana, particularly Kumasi, the second largest city after Accra, celebrated The Stars’ victory at drinking spots,with their vuvuzelas in hand.

It was a raucous scene at the drinking spots where fans celebrated the Black Stars’ 1-0 victory over Serbia. The story there was not about how much money one could spend on drinks, but rather how many litres one could drink – all in the name of football.

Both private and commercial drivers expressed their joy by tooting their horns with their miniature flags flying high in the air. Motor riders were no exception, displaying acrobatic riding.

As if by plan, the resounding victory of The Black Stars in their opening game at the 2010 World Cup coincided with the 80th birthday of the inventor of the Ghana flag, Madam Theodosia Okoh. She described The Stars’ victory as, “a perfect birthday present “. “I am happy the flag is doing great for the country today. That is our strength,” she said.

Although South Africa is geographically far from Ghana, it was not felt by home fans. To them, Africa is Ghana and Ghana is Africa. The fanfare continued after the game and late into the night.

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