Africans all over Africa and the world are tremendously disappointed at Ghanas unceremonious defeat against Uruguay. To say we feel robbed is an understatement.There is no doubt in anybody’s mind that Ghana were cheated out of the World Cup. As Dominic Adiyiah headed the ball goalwards in the final second of extra time in their quarter-final against Uruguay on Friday night, the Black Stars appeared destined for glory. The ball’s trajectory insisted that they were to become Africa’s first representative ever to reach the competition’s semi-final. Then Uruguay’s Luis Suarez stuck out a hand and palmed the certain goal away. Which wasn’t really on, since he was not the goalkeeper.
I made the best save of the tournament.
The referee spotted the infringement and awarded Ghana a penalty, as well as sending Suarez off.
His handball with the score at 1-1 gave Ghana a penalty in the last minute of extra-time but Asamoah Gyan sent his spot-kick crashing off the crossbar to give the Uruguayans a reprieve which they exploited by winning a penalty shoot-out. Suarez’s basketball moment proved that, ultimately, cheats prosper.
Many of the 84,000-strong crowd were incensed as they saw Ghana’s romantic dream of becoming the first African team to reach the semi-final shattered before witnessing Uruguay’s Suárez being carried shoulder high from the pitch.
Suárez made matters worse by echoing Diego Maradona’s triumphant boast after his handball goal downed England in 1986.
“The ‘Hand of God’ now belongs to me,” he said. “I made the best save of the tournament.
“There was no alternative for me. This was the end of the World Cup and when I saw Gyan miss the penalty it was a great joy. I thought ‘it is a miracle’. We were still alive.
“The way in which I was sent off today was worth it.”
Fifa considered extending Suárez’s one-match ban but, having reviewed the incident, it decided it did not merit more punishment, which means Suárez could still play in the World Cup final if Uruguay beat Holland in the semi-final in Cape Town on Tuesday.
Should Uruguay beat Holland and make it to next Sunday’s final, the return of Suárez might cause embarrassment for Fifa, as its fair play code states: “Winning is without value if victory has been achieved unfairly or dishonestly. Cheating is easy, but brings no pleasure.”
Fifa spokesman Pekka Odriozola said Fifa’s disciplinary code gave the committee the option of a longer ban for ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’.
Uruguayan officials were forced to defend themselves against accusations of cheating and cynicism by an angry host nation.
“It is not fair to say we cheated our way to victory,” protested Uruguay coach Óscar Tabárez.
“It was instinctive. He misses the next game and has paid for the consequences.”
But Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac described it as “really shocking. A football injustice”.
Gyan was adamant that Adiyiah’s header had crossed the line before Portuguese referee Olegário Benquerenca awarded the spot kick.
“The ball went in, it did cross the line,” he said, despite video evidence to the contrary. “If it was our day, the referee would have seen it and whistled as a goal.
“I would say Suárez is a hero now in his own country, because the ball was going in and he held it with his hand. He is a hero now.”