passion fuels Ghana faithful

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

ACCRA - The support by Ghanaians for their Black Stars is mind-boggling.

This was the observation of the South African Football Association (Safa) two-man observer team at the ongoing 26th Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana, which reaches a climax on Sunday with the final at Ohene Djan Stadium.

The delegation comprises Safa national executive committee member Alpha Mchunu and former deputy president Reuben Mahlalela, who is now leader of the Safa Lowveld region in Mpumalanga province.

They are in Ghana on a fact-finding mission as part of Safa's preparations for the 2010 World Cup and will submit a detailed report to Safa and the Local Organising Committee on aspects where they think South Africa can improve on to make the World Cup a roaring success.

"It goes without saying that one of the things that we have observed since our arrival here in Ghana is the passion that the locals have for their national team. Everybody, young and old, has been rallying behind the Black Stars," said Mchunu.

"Everywhere you go here in Ghana on the day the Black Stars are playing, you will enjoy being part of this tournament.

"The Ghanaians are not only supporting the Black Stars, they also buy the merchandise of the national team on the market.

"For me that is what is lacking back home and it was good that there were a number of South African supporters who came here with Bafana Bafana. We really need to take it back to South Africa and teach our people to embrace their national teams.

"The support by women at this tournament has been wonderful, we need to start mobilising our people back home across the country as soon as possible if we are serious about the 2010 World Cup being a success in terms of support."

Mchunu said just like in in Ghana, where the Black Stars are through to the semifinals, it is important for the host team to go all the way in any tournament, if it is to be a success.

"The tournament remains the best as long as the host country is going all the way," he said.

lRamatsiyi Moholoa is in Ghana as a guest of Standard Bank.