Ghana failed to exorcise the demon of penalty kicks when the Black Meteors squared up against their Amaglug-glug counterparts from South Africa in the ongoing U-23 African tournament in Egypt.
In a nail-biting third-place fixture that has a spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games as the prize, the Meteors failed to break the jinx of Olympic football participation since 2004.
Although they came back twice to equalise in the literally a do-or-die affair, the ghosts of missed chances and penalties came to haunt the country.
With its last participation in Olympic Games more than a dozen years ago in Athens 2004, when the country failed to glitter, many fans were hopeful that the Meteors will pick Africa’s last slot after bowing to pressure from the young Pharaohs at the semi-final stage.
But it was not to be. The Meteors took the country to a painful memory of lost penalties when it mattered most. The loss again reminded Ghanaians of the pains of Senegal 92, Nigeria 99, South Africa 2010 and Equatorial Guinea 2015.
Equatorial Guinea 2015
This was a repetition of Senegal 92. After a drab goalless game, the two sides headed for the penalties with most Ghanaians hopeful for a revenge.
It was a game of records. Ghana so badly wanted to end the trophy drought after 33 years without an AFCON trophy—Libya 82 provided the last silverware . The Ivorians on the other hand wanted an ‘encore.’
Goalkeeper Boubacar Barry took the winning penalty after his opposite number Razak Braimah had missed his in a repeat of the shootout agony suffered by Ghana in the 1992 finals. Another disastrous penalty outing, to cry over, for millions of Ghanaians.
South Africa 2010
Perhaps the most painful one will be South Africa 2010. It was a tournament in which Ghana lived up to the hype after it held the world spell bound in its World Cup debut in Germany 2006.
Ghana nearly defied expectations to become the first African team to reach the World Cup semi-finals, after being awarded a penalty with the score at 1-1.
Asamoah Gyan hit the bar from the spot with the last kick of extra-time. Excruciatingly, for an entire continent, Ghana then lost a penalty shoot-out 4-2 to Uruguay
It was the game in which Luiz Suarez became public enemy number one in Ghana. He handed a goal-bound ball that earned Ghana the penalty.
One that Asamoah Gyan blew away. Ghanaians never forgave Suarez for celebrating the missed penalty.
When coach Giuseppe Dossena led the Black Satellite to Nigeria in 1999 for the U-20 World cup after conquering the best of Africa in Accra, the country was hopeful that a world trophy drought, after winning the U-17 World Cup in Ecuador in 1995 , will come to an end. Spain had better ideas.
Ghana lost on penalties to Spain, at the quarter final stage, in a match Iker Casillas kept the post and Xavi was in top form blasting a penalty into the post against fearless Hearts of Oak goalie Sammy Adjei.
Hamza Mohammed had the chance to win the game for Ghana but his powerful shot hit the post.
At Senegal 92 AFCON, Ghanaians had expectations. Abedi Pele, the team’s talisman was in form. But a red card in the semi finals.
The Black Stars lost 11-10 on penalties against the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire. Tony Baffoe kicked a woeful one that brought tears and pain to many hearts.