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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 October 2005, 21:11 GMT 22:11 UK
Ghana celebrates World Cup ticket
Farayi Mungazi
BBC Sport, Accra

Fans celebrating Ghana's World Cup qualification
Fans have gone wild on the streets of Ghana

Better late than never is an expression that must have been coined with Ghana's long-suffering football fans in mind.

They waited far too long for their beloved Black Stars to qualify for the World Cup finals.

But four decades of drought finally ended, as Ghana's 4-0 victory over Cape Verde in Praia secured their passage to Germany 2006.

Jubilant fans took to the streets - dancing, singing, shouting and drinking - after seeing their team qualify for football's most prestigious event.

Horn-blaring cars draped in the colours of the Ghanaian flag filled the streets of the capital, Accra, and the second city of Kumasi.

"Today is the happiest day of my life. Every Ghanaian has been waiting for this," said Black Stars skipper Stephen Appiah.

The West African nation's football pedigree is something beyond dispute, winning the African Cup of Nations four times and the under-17 world championship twice.

But ever since Ghana began their journey for a World Cup spot in 1962, when they entered the qualifiers for the first time, failure had been a recurring theme - until now.

"At long last we have proved that we're a good football nation and the German embassy should start issuing out visas," quipped Ken Fynn, a resident of Accra.

When I asked another fan, dressed head-to-toe in the red, green and gold of the Ghanaian flag, what he thought lay behind Ghana's success, he shouted out two words - "team spirit!"

Team spirit may be one of the most commonly used phrases in sport, especially in football. But when it comes to the Black Stars, it is an appropriate term.

Michael Essien and Stephen Appiah are the kind of players every coach would love to have in his team but I'm sure even they will admit that the current Black Stars are not the most talented.

But team spirit, with its emphasis on never giving up, helping each other out and doing everything together, definitely makes up for the lack of talent in Ratomir Dujkovic's side.


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