Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Ghanaians meet SA icons


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JOHANNESBURG – A day after their devastating shoot-out loss to Uruguay in the World Cup quarter-finals, Ghana’s players received a South African version of red-carpet treatment – visits to the homes of former president Nelson Mandela and his ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.“It’s a dream come true,” said midfielder Derek Boateng after the team met Mandela at his mansion in an affluent Johannesburg neighborhood yesterday. “He is a legend, you know, and everybody is talking about him. It is the first time we have met him.”Earlier, the team visited Madikizela-Mandela, another icon of the anti-apartheid movement, at her home in the black township of Soweto.“It was a big privilege for me and the players,” Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson said after that meeting. “She advised [us about] our life and our future, and how to be a good guy and how to control things.”Sowetans greeted the players with applause and cheers as they got off their police-escorted bus, which bore a sign reading, “The Hope of Africa.”The team plan to return to Soweto for a more extensive public appearance today, and also to visit a shopping mall in Johannesburg, according to organisers of the events. Fans wishing to attend were urged to wear the Ghana colours of green, red, and yellow.The governing African National Congress chimed in, expressing disappointment that once again no African team had reached the semi-finals, yet lauding Ghana’s Black Stars.“Well done, Ghana, for doing the continent, Mother Africa and all of us as Africans proud,” said ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu. “We salute you.” (AP)


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