Würzburg is in Ghana22 June 2006

The Black Stars unleash a wave of euphoria and friendship in Würzburg, the home of their World Cup headquarters.

At a festival on the banks of the River Main in Würzburg some 5,000 people hailed the “Heroes of the Rhine”, who were more than a match for tournament co-favourites the Czech Republic in Cologne on Saturday in securing Ghana's first-ever World Cup win. After the match local residents joined with Ghana fans on a celebratory march through the city towards the team hotel.

On Sunday afternoon the Black Stars made a star appearance on the festival site. According to a report in the local newspaper an orchestra played the Ghanaian national anthem before the Black Stars took the stage. The audience waved green-yellow-and-red flags and applauded loudly as each player took the plaudits of the crowd. “Ghana, Ghana” chants and some drummers made for a festival mood, and former international Anthony Yeboah frolicked and danced with the team.

“It's like being in Africa”, said an impressed team coordinator and FARE ambassador Anthony Baffoe. “We aren't missing Ghana at all”, said the president of the Ghanaian Football Association, Kwesi Nyantakyi during the 20-minute festival visit, and thanked the people of Würzburg for their fantastic support.

Würzburg mayor Pia Beckmann reiterated the city's support, saying:
“We're all keeping our fingers crossed for you. It seems as if the longer you're here, the better you get”, she said, before adding with much pathos: “The Black Stars are the shining lights of Würzburg.”

If Ghana come through their final group match against the USA to qualify for the second round, they hope to remain in Würzburg. “We feel at ease and at home here”, said coach Ratomir Dujkovic at a press conference on Monday. The Ghanaians intend to apply to FIFA for permission to stay in the city.