The Road to Rustenberg

The remotest location in South Africa’s World Cup sees Ghana emerge as a side with a real chance of success.

[ibimage==3077==blogpostFeaturedImage==none==self==null] The road to Rustenberg is one of your more entertaining drives in South Africa.

Its one that’s been used by fans from England, USA, New Zealand, Slovakia, Ghana and Australia amongst others.

As the city isn’t linked by a main highway the trip from Johannesburg takes you on a long and winding road, sometimes picturesque, sometimes bizarre.

The picturesque included a beautiful lake surrounded by some mountains (please see pic)

The bizarre was a sign for a septic tank company that included the tagline “We take your s***” – a personal favourite. I have a photo but I’m not sure the Al Jazeera moderator would approve. Although if enough people read this I maybe persuaded.

In fact at one point my cameraman Nick and I were considering having to do our live preview from the side of the road, we were that lost.

Anyway the reason for our trip up country was to watch the last 16 clash between Ghana and the USA. The Black Stars eventually won it 2-1 in extra time to setup a quarter-final date with Uruguay and thus extending Africa’s involvement in Africa’s first World Cup.

Ghana’s Achievement

Ghana’s achievement matches that of Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002.  African football has certainly been on a long and winding road since that first appearance in the last eight at Italia 90. 

It’s taken 20 years but finally we might have an African team with a genuine chance of capturing football’s biggest prize.

It may come as a surprise to some that it is Ghana thats on the verge of the last four. 

Missing their captain Michael Essien through injury, the team aren’t blessed with the big names of some of the continent’s other teams, like Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon or Didier Drogba of Cote D’Ivoire.

But without Essien the team (the average age of which is just 24) reached the final of Africa Cup of Nations in January and are now in the last eight of the World Cup.

Gyan the goalscorer

Going into this tournament the worry was that a lack of a proven goalscorer would prove their undoing.

My colleague Andy Richardson came up with a great statistic recently, that the team scored just four goals on their way to reaching that Cup of Nations final.

However in Asamoah Gyan they might have found the goalscorer they need. His tally of three from four matches was good enough to see off the likes of Serbia and the United States. 

 At the moment he’s an injury doubt for the game against Uruguay. Ghana will be desperate to get him fit for that clash.

The average age of the Ghana squad had led some to suggest (me included) that the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 maybe the one in which it made a real impact, but it seems this side are impatient for success, Ghana’s long and winding road may have a few more stops to go yet.

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