In Ghana

Since the early 1980s Ghana’s relatively peaceful political landscape and developing service industry infrastructure have been seen as a positive example of privatization and structural adjustment. President Obama chose Ghana as the first African country to visit in the early months of his presidency, explicitly highlighting Ghana’s relative stability, development, and free market potential. As Obama expressed in Accra, Africa has vast and often unrealized potential. This notion of Africa’s latent potential is especially pertinent as the World Cup in South Africa is seen as a chance to attract tourism, economic investment, and attention for young African soccer players from European clubs, scouts, and fans.

Ghana like much of Africa is passionate about the sport. When Ghana beat the United States in the 2006 World Cup, the country turned into one giant street party driven by national pride as well as fueled by its resentment of global powers like the US. The win was seen as a mark of national pride and seemed to raise the hopes and confidence of the nation. Because of Ghana’s national history as a center of Pan-Africanist unity, the national football squad is seen by many South Africans, African Diasporans, and others to represent ideals of black unity. This is reflected in the Ghanaian team’s name, the Black Stars. Issues of racial and national identity are often manifested through the team’s success and failure. With Ghana’s good showing in the last Cup and its success at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, Ghana gained an international reputation as a potential giant killer.

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