The nation has applauded the Black Stars for their sterling performance against Portugal in their opening Group H match at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Although the Black Stars lost 2-3 in the match which was fraught with controversial decisions by the Moroccan-born American referee, Ismail Elfath, the consensus of a grateful nation was that the team played their hearts out and, therefore, deserved commendation.
Social media was awash with messages of commendation, with many people urging the players not to feel daunted but rather go into the next match with all the seriousness they can muster to clinch victory.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who was in Qatar to motivate the players ahead of the match, took to social media handles to show appreciation to the team for their great performance.
“Gutsy performance by the Black Stars in [Thursday’s] match against Portugal. Very proud of the entire team. They live to fight another day, and have shown they have what it takes to mix it up against any team in the tournament.
“Looking forward to the next game against South Korea, and I urge all Ghanaians to rally strongly behind the team. I am confident we can qualify from this group,” he posted on his official Facebook page.
Bawumia rallies support
The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, said even though the nation was downhearted with the defeat, the good thing was that the team was superb on the day.
On his official Facebook page, he said: “While we are all downhearted by the unfortunate loss by the Black Stars to Portugal, we must appreciate that they put up a spirited performance and acquitted themselves well.”
The Vice-President, who joined fans at the Accra Digital Centre to watch the match, added: “We may be down, but we are certainly not out and we should not despair. Let us remain united behind the Black Stars and support them strongly in the remaining group matches. Go, Black Stars, Go!”
Former President John Mahama (left) and Prof. Joshua Alabi, a leading member of the National Democratic Congress cheering the Black Stars to victory
Former President John Dramani Mahama was equally elated about the performance of the team and said the result was not a fair outcome.
On his official Facebook page, the former President, who opened his office in Cantonments in Accra for people to watch the match on television there, said the result was unexpected.
“That was not the result we were expecting from the game against Portugal. But we’ve confirmed that we are a very determined side for this World Cup.
“Let’s continue to pray and support the team as they prepare for their second and the final group matches. This team is a young team! A work in progress. We should be proud of them,” he said.
Parliament hails team
In Parliament yesterday, Daniel Kenu and Nana Konadu Agyeman report that Members of Parliament (MPs) joined the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, to applaud the Black Stars for their sterling performance.
They unanimously condemned the poor performance of the referee, especially for “gifting” the Portuguese two doubtful goals.
Many football analysts believe the referee gave the Portuguese a doubtful penalty and allowed a seemingly offside goal to stand against the Black Stars.
"We won the match but lost the points. The Black Stars are the best team at the World Cup and the respect they gave Portugal in the first half was totally undeserving," the Speaker told the House.
Members were contributing to a statement made on the floor by the Ranking Member for Youth and Sports, Kobla Mensah Wisdom Woyome, to commend the team for a stellar showing at the Mundial.
The Speaker, just like other contributors, identified some technical challenges that needed to be fixed quickly before the team's next game.
The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, suspected a conspiracy against the Black Stars which needed to be addressed.
He urged officials of the team to lodge a formal complaint against the referee with FIFA.
But, more importantly, he urged the team "to go into the next match with their own referee", knowing that the referees could work against them.
He suggested to the handlers of the team to vary their tactics by starting with Jordan Ayew upfront to harass the opponents, while using his brother, Dede, as a super substitute or, as he
put it, "a Roger Miller", mostly in the second half.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, described the decisions of the referee as "pure robbery" and the Portuguese goals as unmeritorious.
He said the changes made by Coach Otto Addo were not necessary, and that a player such as Kudus Mohammed should not have been substituted.
There were contributions by the MP for Atwima Mponua and former Sports Minister, Isaac Asiamah, and the MP for Talensi, B. T. Baba.
The common thread that ran through their contributions were the poor showing of the referee and the need for a formal complaint to be made to FIFA.
They said the Black Stars deserved to win the game and rallied more national support for the team.