LONDON: Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday that despite their defeat in the dramatic World Cup quarter-final against Uruguay, Ghana were the true winners.
In a letter to the Ghana team, Annan, a Ghanaian himself, said his reaction at the end of the match on Friday when the last African representatives in the first World Cup on African soil lost in a penalty shootout was "how unfair".
"Heartbroken, that`s how you must have felt at the end of your epic match against Uruguay last Friday. There is no other word for it. Hundreds of millions of us felt the same way," he wrote in the letter.
Ghana could have won in the last minute of extra time when they were awarded a penalty after Uruguay`s Luis Suarez had been sent off for a deliberate hand ball on the goalline, but Asamoah Gyan fired the spot kick over the bar.
"In fact, while you lost the game, you came out winners. I wanted to congratulate you not only on a fantastic performance in which you can take great pride, but also for accepting your defeat with dignity. You won because you were such great ambassadors for the game - and for Africa," Annan wrote.
"I cannot think of another occasion on which the whole continent was so united as during your quarter-final," he added, in the letter released through the London-based PR company for his Africa Progress Panel.
"I am sure we have all felt at some stage of our lives that the world is united against Africa. But this World Cup, and particularly your last match, has shown the enormous goodwill towards our continent," he added.
The Ghana players received an ecstatic welcome home at the country`s main airport on Monday.
BDST: 1229hrs, July 7, 2010