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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 June 2006, 08:54 GMT 09:54 UK
Ghanaians proud after Brazil loss
By Kwaku Sakyi-Addo
BBC, Accra, Ghana

Flags
Many Ghanaians felt they should have won the match
Believe it or not, the flags are still flying; revellers possess the main streets; the cars are honking, the breweries are happy and the warm wind bears strains of the hip life hit, "Obiaa nye obiaa," (nobody is anybody - we're all equal) from the bars.

You might be forgiven for thinking that Ghana beat Brazil 3-0, rather than the reverse.

But for many people in the streets, the defeat of the Black Stars had little to do with the players. For them the culprit was the man in the middle.

"I'm proud of the Black Stars, but I'm angry with the referee. We played against 12 Brazilians. Next time we should take our own referee to the World Cup," a young woman wrapped in the national colours blurted out before skipping off to dance with a brass band parading on Oxford Street, a colourful shopping area in Accra.

"Daylight Robbery!" read one placard. "Stolen Verdict!" another spat out.

Missed chances

There were a few harsh words too for the Ghanaian strikers.

Flying the flag
Watch out for the Black Stars in South Africa 2010!
Drinker in Accra
"Even Stevie Wonder would have scored with some of the chances we had," lamented Kpakpo Allotey, a Black Stars replica shirts vendor, obviously not satisfied with the killing he has made during this World Cup season.

But his agony is understandable. His takings will start diminishing now that the Black Stars are out of the tournament.

At the Castle, the seat of the Presidency, the atmosphere was subdued. The corridors were still, save for the furious pounding of the waves of the Atlantic against the 500-year-old walls.

In contrast to the broad smiles from the 2-1 victory over the USA, the security guards wore grim faces with their olive camouflage outfits.

President John Kufuor was holed up inside his office where he had watched the game.

"We played the best team in the world," a statement issued through his press secretary Andy Awuni said.

"The boys held their own against them. And so even in defeat, they're victors. Now, we've joined the big league of world football, and we should acknowledge that and be proud."

Looking ahead

It is sensible for presidents to be philosophical in defeat. But many Ghanaians will, no doubt, share his words of consolation.

Beetle
Fans stayed out in the streets celebrating, despite the loss
"We were not outplayed. We even had better possession," boasted Ernest Youngman, a cameraman. "Against Brazil, that's not so bad."

Indeed, it is been an adventure and some are already revving up for the next one even before Germany 2006 is over.

"This is only our first time. So everybody, watch out for the Black Stars in South Africa 2010!" threatened one man as he snatched a bar stool and half-sat to a cold, frothy mug of draught beer.

"Cheers!" he said, raising his mug to my microphone. He took a small sip. And then, slowly, he shook his head.

A pint tastes a lot better in victory. In defeat, beer is diluted - from all the tears.




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