The Black Stars of Ghana could become the first African nation to reach the world cup knockout stage three times in a row if they defeat Portugal on Thursday and other results go their way.
Ghana reached the knockout stage in Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010, and should they qualify this time round, would have gotten out of their group for the third consecutive time; a feat never achieved by any African nation at the world cup.
Africa’s participation on the world stage has never been uplifting as one would hope. Since the continent was first represented on the world stage by Egypt in 1934, it has been difficult to make a lasting impression on the larger stage. Until 1986, no African side had ever made it out of the group stages, whilst Italia 90’ saw Cameroon’s sublime run to the quarter-finals, a move emulated by Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010.
Despite all this, the one thing that had plagued the continent was consistency, as no one team could make their mark and return to subsequent mundials and stay at that top level. After reaching the quarter-finals in 1990, Cameroon crashed out of the group stages in 1994. The sad truth is whilst there has been as African side in the second round of every world cup since 1986, its only on two occasions that the same side has reached that stage consecutively; Nigeria in USA 94’ and France 98’, and Ghana in 2006 and 2010.
This should be a testament to the great work the Black Stars have been doing since first qualifying for the world cup in 2006. In both 2006 and 2010, Ghana was the only African side to reach the second round, and everyone knows what happened in 2010 and how close the Stars’ came to becoming the first African side to ever make the world cup semi finals.