Yeah I know, it a just a game, even if it's a beautiful one.
I probably should not be writing about Ghana's loss because the pain I feel is nothing compared to the heart break over there in Ghana. But our support, as Africans, was unconditional and our pride, as the Black Stars bid the world cup farewell, is immense. And like Cameroon against England in 1990, another loss in the 1/4 final in additional time for an African team after taking the lead.
Ghana lost in the most cruel way possible and a whole continent shed tears with Gyan, the unfortunate hero of a valiant team, a united team who gave it their all.
Gyan was magnificent before the historical loss against Uruguay, he was heroic during the game, playing his heart out on two bum ankles and then he missed the "unmissable" kick, the penalty kick that would have sent the continent to the top 4 in the final seconds.
It was a scenario straight out of a greek tragedy, a few inches too high, inches too close to heaven.
Despair city, a whole continent gasping in disbelief.
Then came the dreaded penalty kick. I hate those but what a test for one's mettle.
The first guy who comes out from Ghana, is against all odds you guessed it, Gyan. I don't even want to know what goes through his mind as he walked to take the kick.
He kicks it with no hesitation and scores.
The pain is still there after he scores though, because he knows he needed the first one in the worst way.
The rest of the contest is history. Uruguay makes them as Mensah misses his, totally worn out physically by the battle. Congratulations to Uruguay, talented team who deserved to go continue.
The lesson learned here is the important story. Gyan got punched in the gut in the worst possible way, failing the hopes of billions of people. And yet, he turned around right away and focused himself enough to kick the perfect penalty, the one that should have been.
Gyan could have declined to kick, fearing what another failed kick could do to him, his career and his country. There was little to gain and so much to lose in kicking again.
But Gyan what we wish most of our leaders on the continent would do. He did not shy away from doing the right thing, he stepped up, ready to take the blame, yet again, knowing what it could cost him.
Maybe the fairy tale was not meant to be for Africa, not yet at least. Maybe the road to success is paved with these incredibly cruel losses. Gyan showed us how we should face yet another setback.
Pick ourselves up, try again and again. Gyan was inconsolable at the end and I could not help but shed a tear with him. Yes, it's just a game and why in the world would a guy care so much about Ghana, when Takoradi is the closest he's ever been to it ?
Because the Black Stars truly united the whole continent. They played as one so we rooted as one. They made many mistakes but they also had many moments of brilliance and never let go of the hope. They danced together and embraced the support of the whole continent and dedicated their victory to us.
So this Malagasy guy thank you for the lesson in courage, Ghana. If only your effort can inspire African leadership across the continent and show them how to handle adversity with character, maybe this loss would not be in vain after all.