The 2010 FIFA World Cup™ has always been billed as a first for Africa, and as such all the African teams partaking in the tournament have felt the impetus of home ground advantage. As the last team still remaining in the tournament, Ghana have found themselves well supported in the host nation.
All over South Africa the Ghanaian colours are finding their way into the homes, cars and wardrobes of local fans. “Ghana was amazing against the US,” said Lebo Mahlatjie, an ardent African football fan. “They have really put Africa's presence into this tournament.”
For fans like Mahlatjie, the Black Stars epitomise Africa's efforts both on and off the pitch. “They have a good chance to get through. They have surprised everyone and done Africa proud, whatever happens on Friday.”
Ghana will make history on Friday if they can beat Uruguay to advance to the Semi Finals as the first team from the African continent to do so. “If they manage that I can't tell you how wild it will be,” said Mahlatjie. “It will be the greatest day.”
The successes of the Ghanaian team has converted many local people, many of whom were not necessarily the biggest football fans before. “They play great football,” said Samantha Robb. “It feels fantastic to see them doing so well, you have to support them.”
For Robb the thought of Ghana winning is almost too much to bear. “I will celebrate Africa's success. Together we have come so far and this is our World Cup, already we have broken perceptions around what Africa can do.”
South African fans will turn out in their thousands on Friday night to root for the Black Stars. “I have a ticket to the game,” said Tebogo Mutlanyune. “Ghana is representing Africa for all of us and I want to support that. Black Stars all the way.”
Even at an open air viewing of the Portugal vs Spain match on Tuesday night, George Mahlangu is dressed in his Ghanaian colours, preparing himself for the history books to be rewritten. “It is fantastic to have the Black Stars in the Quarter Final, especially in the World Cup hosted here in South Africa. All we need is one African team in the quarters, not all six, to fly the flag for Africa.”