Ghana President Nana Akufo Addo and his government are breathing a sigh of relief after the Black Stars secured qualification to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar – the fourth in the country’s history.
The government has been under pressure to ensure the team’s passage to the global tournament after missing out on Russia in 2018.
A massive political disaster could have crippled the government if the team had failed to secure qualification to the World Cup.
President Akufo Addo is now in good company after following in the footsteps of his predecessors John Agyekum Kufuor, late President John Evans Atta Mills and John Dramani Mahama.
Ghana qualified for its first World Cup in 2006 in the era of former leader John Agyekum Kufuor.
Late President Atta Mills also supervised the country’s second appearance on the global stage after the team enjoyed their best run at the 2010 World Cup in Germany.
Former President John Dramani Mahama was in charge of the country when the Black Stars participated in the World Cup in 2014 in Brazil.
The success of his predecessors put a lot of pressure on the current Ghanaian leader – whose tenure could have been termed as a failure if the team had failed to secure qualification.
But President Akufo Addo received the best possible 78th birthday gift as the team forced a 1-1 draw in Nigeria to qualify to the mundial.
Ghana became the first African nation to reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after forcing their arch-rivals Nigeria to a 1-1 draw in Abuja, to qualify on the away goals rule.
However, there were ugly scenes at full-time as angry Super Eagles fans peppered Ghana’s players and staff with water bottles thrown from the stands as they left the pitch.
Nigerian fans acted with anger and unrestrained frustration as violence overshadowed the Super Eagles’ World Cup exit.
Local spectators peppered both the Ghana fans, some 100 or so, and the Black Stars players with water bottles – forcing the latter to cower and cover their heads as they battled their way down the tunnel following a mass pitch invasion.