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USA vs. Ghana: Ghana carries the hopes of a continent on its shoulders

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Newscom

(Read caption) Ghana's team warms up on Friday on the eve of their match against the USA at the Mogwase training ground on the outskirts of Rustenburg, South Africa. Ghana is the last remaining African team in the 2010 World Cup.

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There is something fitting about Ghana carrying the hopes of a continent on its shoulders.

The Black Stars are flying the flag for Africa as the continent's last remaining team in the World Cup. A win against the United States in Rustenburg would take them through to the quarter-finals, equaling the achievement of Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002.

Off the pitch too, Ghana has become a flag-bearer for a continent.

Elections held in 2008 ran smoothly despite the government candidate losing by the narrowest of margins. There was no attempt to rig the vote, nor was there a refusal to hand power over to the opposition – a marked contrast from the higher profile elections in Nigeria, Kenya, and Zimbabwe which were all deeply flawed.

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Ghana has always liked to see itself as a shining example to the rest of the continent.

It was the first sub-Saharan country to win independence, in 1957, and its first president, Kwame Nkrumah, was the father of pan-Africanism. He also understood the power of sport, and particularly football, in promoting those ideals. Nkrumah created Ghana's first national team, personally christening them the Black Stars, and he was a big supporter of the Confederation of African Football.

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