Qatar 2022: Black Stars, the hope of 30 million Ghanaians

On Sunday, November 20, the eyes of the world was on Qatar as the world’s top footballing nations gathered to battle for which among them will take home the coveted FIFA World Cup trophy in 2022.

It is that time every four years, when the best players in the world gather in one country to display their football artistry and skills.

In this ‘beautiful game’ – as the legendary Brazilian footballer Pele calls it, the world will witness beautiful passes and dribbling runs that are going to make many football lovers fixated on their television sets. There is no singular sport that brings Ghana and the world together like football.

The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946, when it was not held because of the Second World War.

The current format of the competition involves 32 teams, including the automatically qualifying host nation(s) who compete in the tournament phase for the title at venues within the host nation(s) over a period of about a month.

The countries in Qatar for the tournament include; defending champions France, five-time winners Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, England, France, Iceland, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia and Uruguay.

Only eight national teams have won the World Cup diadem, all from South America and Europe where the game has the strongest footing.

 Brazil has won five times, and they are the only team to have played in every tournament. The other World Cup winners are Germany and Italy, with four titles each. Argentina, the inaugural winner Uruguay, as well as the defending champion France, have won twice apiece, while England, and Spain have one title each.

Even though no African country has ever won the World Cup, African representatives in this year’s World Cup – Ghana, Egypt, Senegal, Tunisia and Morocco – are expected to do well this time.

 This optimism is informed by the growing array of talents that the continent parades, who are mostly plying their trade in the best leagues in Europe and elsewhere around the world.

Ghana is in Group H alongside Portugal, Uruguay and South Korea. The Black Stars of Ghana has been described as an underdog, but that has not dampened the expectations of Ghanaians.

When the Black Stars players file out for their first World Cup match against Portugal on Thursday, November 24, 2022, they should display the highest levels of patriotism and be rest assured that the nation is behind them.

This newspaper joins all Ghanaians in wishing the black stars the best of luck in the tournament.

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