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Energy of all Africa lifts Ghana to last eight

Sports Desk |
Update: 2010-06-26 15:37:41

RUSTENBURG: Energized by the support of a continent, Ghana`s Black Stars have matched the best World Cup run by any African side by reaching a quarter-final showdown against Uruguay on Friday.

Now the dreams of the four-time African champions stretch far beyond the final eight, all the way to lifting the top prize in football.

"We should not shorten our dreams. We have to move forward again," Ghana midfielder Andre Ayew said. "Everything is possible in football. If we continue fighting we will do great things. If we work together we can accomplish anything."

Ayew supplied the long pass to Asamoah Gyan that set up the Ghana playmaker`s goal three minutes into extra-time for a 2-1 victory over the United States on Saturday, boosting the Black Stars into the last eight for the first time.

Ghana, the last of six African teams in the first World Cup on African soil, become only the third African team to reach a World Cup quarter-final, matching the achievements of Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002.

"We fought for the continent. We fought for Ghana," Ayew said. "I just hope we made the whole continent proud and a lot of Ghanians happy."

Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Algeria, South Africa and Nigeria all crashed out in the first round, but that has helped build the energy for the Black Stars, who changed their team bus slogan to "The Hope of Africa".

"We were very disappointed there was no other African team with us," Ayew said. "Now that we are lucky to be here, we have to fight for all the other teams that left us. We have to make the whole continent proud.

"We feel we have a whole continent behind us, all of Africa behind us, and that has given us the energy to keep fighting for everything."

Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac, a Serbian who says Ghana has the support of the world for its heart-felt play, sounded the only cautionary note with forward Kevin-Prince Boateng, the Portsmouth playmaker who scored the first Ghana goal, being doubtful to face Uruguay with an injury.

"It`s going to be a huge problem to get him ready for the next game but we will do our utmost to get him ready," Rajevac said. "We`re not sure if he will be ready."

Yellow cards issued to Ghana defender Johnathan Mensah and midfielder Ayew mean they will definitely miss the match against Uruguay.

"This is the major problem we`re facing against Uruguay, the cards and the injuries," Rajevac said.

BDST: 1138hrs, June 27, 2010

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