As the Ghana vs. Uruguay game results continue to sink in, the South African fans and the press continue with the post-mortem of the game. That cheating handball is in the news.
This was mostly fueled by Luis Suarez’s own comments after the game. He conjured up the memory of Diego Maradona’s “hand of god” handball in 1986. He pronounced that the hand of god now belonged to him and not Maradona. This rubbed in hot pepper into the wounds of the fans and the African press. The handball has now been dubbed the “Hands Of The Devil” by fans and newspapers all across South Africa, with all concluding that a goal should have been allowed to Ghana instead of a penalty. That would have fixed the game in favour of Ghana who had laboured so tirelessly to that moment.
That quarterfinal World Cup match was one of the most exciting, yet frustrating soccer matches, some say, sporting event of any kind, they have ever seen. After a full 90 minutes, the score was tied 1-1. Toward the end of the 30 minutes of extra time, truly with seconds left before a shootout would begin, with the score still tied at 1-1, Ghana was threatening really hard. And then according to popular remarks around South Africa “the devil struck!” Uruguay’s goalkeeper got out of position and Uruguay forward Luis Suarez found himself as the last line of defense as a ball was flying just out of the reach of his head or feet and so Suarez committed a foul, “handsball” with both hands. He reached out and swatted the ball away denying a goal that would have surely gone in had he not intervened illegally.
Most commentators are referring to the issue of a deliberate handball in the goal area preventing a certain goal. They believe this needs to be reevaluated by FIFA.
In the meantime the popular view and wish here has been that Uruguay lose their next game as divine remedy, just as Team France was knocked out hard in the first round, due to that Thierry Henry’s handball that qualified them against Ireland in the first place.
As if to answer the prayers, the knock-out fatal blow has just been delivered tonight at Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town. The knock-out punch was administered by Team Netherlands with full support of the South African fans and their friends from across Africa. The “devil hands” silenced. The vuvuzelas sounded loudest. It was as if Netherlands was playing at home.
The referee had tried to delay the game further than the added time of three minutes, but that did not help Uruguay. As the final whistle sounded, so did the vuvuzelas in celebration of the Netherlands win.
In the streets of Cape Town one young man brandishing two vuvuzelas, one orange and one black kept shouting repeatedly; “the Orange boys have done it for Africa!” referring to the Netherlands team.
At Super Sport studios the sports panel were overwhelmed with emails of congratulations of Netherlands from African fans, some saying “our gods have intervened” “Netherlands you have done it for us.”
No matter what has happened the World Cup mood remains high throughout South Africa. The fans have promised to fill up the venues of the remaining games and wish the best team to win the finals. As for Africa, said a self-proclaimed “Chief Fan” wearing a colourful makarapa hat; “we have already won the World Cup!! by hosting the event so successfully. Our visiting friends are welcome to stay on and join in the party after the last whistle blows on Sunday July 11, 2010. We shall party long into the night in typical African style!”
As the World Cup draws to a close one thing is certain; the vuvuzelas will continue to sound ever so loud, as they make their mark around the world. Some say sport events will never be the same again as vuvuzelas make their way into other sports, and their production and purchase orders sky rocket all across the world.