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Ghana seek revenge against unapologetic Luis Suarez

Twelve years after Ghana was denied a spot in the World Cup semifinals in South Africa, national resentment persists. Fans in Qatar are hoping for retribution against an unrepentant opponent.Information Guide Nigeria

Hero or villain, the choice is yours. Luis Suarez of Uruguay believes, however, that the Ghanaian fans’ hatred is misdirected prior to their match at Al Janoub. He points to the Ghanaian athlete Asamoah Gyan.

“I don’t apologize about the handball. The Ghana player missed the penalty, not me,” Suarez said in response to a DW question. “Maybe I could apologize if I injured a player and I take a red card. But in this situation, I took a red card, the referee gave a penalty. It is not my fault because I didn’t miss the penalty. It is not my responsibility that [Gyan] missed the penalty. You saw the player who missed the penalty, and he said he would do the same.”

Twelve years ago, in the last minutes of a quarterfinal match in Johannesburg, the striker turned himself into a goalkeeper in an extreme act of desperation to stop a goal-bound Dominic Adiyiah header with his hands.

Gyan was sent off, but he missed the penalty that would have propelled the Black Stars into the semifinals, denying Africa a spot in the last four for the first time as they went on to lose in a penalty shootout.

The 35-year-old Uruguayan, who is playing at potentially his final World Cup, hopes Ghana can look beyond the past and focus on the now. “You can’t keep focusing on the past or revenge,” he said.JAMB Result

Mind games, perhaps?

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‘Very sad day for us’

Suarez’s answer cannot assuage the hurt of Ghanaians who consider the Uruguayan as the “devil himself.” He might even be the one single person all Ghanaians jointly despise despite the country’s politics that divide the country down the middle.

“Luis Suarez became an enemy of African football,” said Issa Sawado, a member of the Ghanaian supporter’s delegation to Qatar. “Ghana was leading the cause for Africa, not for Ghana alone. We were the only hope for Africa at the 2010 World Cup. We were trying to make a point, but we were deprived of getting to the semifinals through dubious means.”

“It was a very sad day for us,” said Abdallah Adnan, a Ghana supporter. “I was at the university, and the whole community was devastated. We were all shattered, and that memory is still there. We are looking for revenge.”

If the Black Stars bring an end to Suarez’s career here in Qatar, it will potentially heal the wounds inflicted 12 years ago.

“When we were watching the South Korea game, all we kept talking about was Luis Suarez,” said Maltiti Sayida Sadick, a journalist with Ghana’s national broadcaster GBC. “We cannot wait to pay back what Suarez did to us in 2010.”NYSC portal

Only Andre Ayew, the team’s captain, remains from the 2010 squad. He has stated in the past that he intends to concentrate on reaching the elimination rounds.

However, his deputy, Thomas Partey, recalls witnessing the game as a young junior school footballer in Ashaiman, a town on the outskirts of Accra.

“We had the chance to score the penalty, but we were unlucky the ball did not go in,” Partey responded to a DW question. “We are going into this game well-prepared; we must work hard and play according to our plans.”

Coach Otto Addo, a former Black Star himself, put the game into perspective. “If the same incident had happened the other way round, [Ghanaians and Africans] would have said something different. I expect every player to sacrifice themselves for the team. For me, it is not a big topic. We prepare as well as we can. We try to emphasize our strengths,” he said.

Veteran Uruguayan journalist Jorge da Silveira, who was recently honored for reporting at his 15th World Cup, was quite philosophical. “I was in South Africa 12 years ago, which was a very difficult match for us. But I think it was also a very dark day for the Ghana players who lost the game,” he said. “But I think that this is another game in another time.”

If Ghana wins, there will be relief that Suarez has been exorcised. There was always the question of how far they could have advanced had he not blocked Adiyiah’s header. Never will we know. What is known is that the 2022 World Cup will add another chapter to this tale.JAMB portal

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