July 2. A date that many Ghanaians are not particularly excited to hear because of the history attached to it.
A day that evokes memories of pain, disappointment and regret and years after the events of that day in 2010, it is still fresh in the minds of many.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup was Ghana’s tournament by far. The West African country beat Serbia and the United States en route to reaching the quarterfinals of the competition for the very first time and only the third African country to do attain this feat.
In the ensuing game against Uruguay at that stage of the competition, the Black Stars started well.
Sulley Muntari scoring just on the stroke of half time.
The second half provided evidence of football being a game of two halves.
The game came into its own after Diego Forlan scored. But it was in the final minutes of extra time that changed history.
The infamous Luis Suarez handball on the line that denied Ghana a chance to score resulted in a penalty which Asamoah Gyan missed. Ghana defender John Paintsil who played in the that game says it is still a very difficult game to watch even now that 10 years have passed.
“I don’t like watching it. He took the ball confidently, put the ball down and found his spot. He hit it but that ball is very fast and it was a bit light. If it was any other ball, that power he struck with, it should have gone in. This is football. It can humble you and it can make you big. We were all shocked. I was thinking that at least what we did to the United states could repeat itself,” he recalled.
Gyan had been the outright African star of the tournament and typically the man who was vilified after that infamous penalty miss. The memories he says have never left him.
“Honestly I have not watched the game. I always go back and watch the penalty and that is the only thing I watch. People tag me in it on Social media and I just watch it and shake my head. I wish we could go back again and have that penalty but life goes on. It is something that I will never forget,” Gyan said.
2010 was a massive year for Ghana football. A year that meant so much for how football is seen in Ghana and on the continent.
It paved way for new stars to be born and in many ways the peak of Asamoah Gyan’s powers. Little wonder that he told me in the interview that that year as his biggest ever stage.
“I always say that 2010 year was the best year in my career. Everything I did was working. I did music, businesses were working. I had contracts, won awards and my whole life changed. I became an icon.”
There will not be many chances to get back to the spot the Black Stars reached in 2010.
Like Cameroon in 1990 and like Senegal in 2002, that Ghana team of 2010 will always be remembered by one penalty miss and the man who orchestrated it. Asamoah Gyan.
By Yaw Ofosu Larbi|3news.com|Ghana