by Bonna, Okyere MBA
After a Long Wait Ghana Finally Made the FIFA World Cup? Tournament in Germany in 2006.
Over the past 25 years football has not only taken root as the world's major game in the world but has also blossomed in other branches of society, commerce and politics. Football or soccer, more than any other factor, has united whole regions, people and nations.
To read the entire story, visit http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/8/prweb429777.htm.
The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) began the World Cup championship tournament in 1930 with a 13-team field in Uruguay. Sixty-four years later, 138 countries competed in qualifying rounds to fill 24 berths in the 1994 World Cup finals including an African nation. FIFA increased the World Cup '98 tournament field from 24 to 32 teams, and it remained at 32 in 2002 including automatic berths for defending champion France and co-hosts Japan and South Korea. The other 29 openings were allotted by region: Europe (13), Africa (5), South America (4), CONCACAF (3), Asia (2), the two remaining positions were determined by means of two home-and-away playoff series. One was between the #14 European team (Ireland) and the #3 Asian team (Iran) and the other was between the #5 South American team (Uruguay) and the champion of Oceania (Australia).
Over the past 25 years football has not only taken root as the world's major game in the world but has also blossomed in other branches of society, commerce and politics. Football or soccer, more than any other factor, has united whole regions, people and nations. "With approximately two hundred million active players," (FIFA estimate) football can be said to constitute a substantial chunk of the leisure industry. Indeed, today Football (soccer) has opened up new markets for itself and for the rest of the business world and will continue to be the all time sport of the century.
FIFA World Cup? tournaments have been played once in Asia (Japan/South Korea), three times in North America (Mexico 2 and U.S.), four times in South America (Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay) and ten times in Europe (France 2, Italy 2, England, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and West Germany).
Ghana made a debut in the 1962 FIFA World Cup qualifiers but they were narrowly knocked out by Morocco and in subsequent years they found victory illusive. The 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification was a nightmare for Ghana having ended up in the fourth place behind Nigeria, Liberia and Sudan. Ghana's hopes of reaching the first Asian finals were effectively ended by a 3-1 defeat at home to Liberia and an unconvincing draw against Sierra Leone. Ghana's historic journey to the 2006 FIFA World Cup? finals begun with a comfortable qualifying victory over Somalia. Let's hope Ghana continues to show up in subsequent FIFA World Cup? tournaments.
For Ghana, a place on world football's greatest stage is long overdue. They have won four CAF African Cup of Nations titles - in 1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982 - and twice captured the FIFA Under-17 World Championship. Moreover, they have produced some of Africa's most talented footballers down the years including the international ace player Abedi Ayew Pele. The success of the Black Stars ironically comes at a time when they do not have as many big names but instead a youthful team with a disciplined approach fostered by coach Dujkovic, who offered an early statement of his no-nonsense approach.
The Ghana national team was founded in 1957, the year of Ghana's independence from the British imperial regime. Since its establishment the Ghana Black Stars have won African Cup of Nations four times (1963, 1965, 1978, 1982), and CSSA Nations Cup four times (1982-1984, 1986, 1987) - a remarkable
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|Softcover, ISBN 1425725767
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation, 2006
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