October 9th, 2005 13:20 EST
Africa now knows all five nations that will be represented in the next world cup in Germany.
African soccer giants: Nigeria, Cameroon and SA have given way to new comers: Angola, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana after the last qualification day for the World Cup Finals.
Sunday night, from Luanda to Abidjan, Lomé to Accra, streets were full as jubilant fans went wild: dancing, shouting, basking in glow after their countries qualified for the very first time in soccer, the most prestigious event.For decades, African countries had all struggled to represent the continent in the world cup finals, but they always saw all the spots being filled by almost the same nations.
Africa rewrote her History when teams like Super Eagles of Nigeria or Indomitable Lions of Cameroon fell, surprised by resolute fast coming nations. Only nine nations had had a chance to represent the continent: Cameroon, Nigeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, SA, Congo DR, Zambia and Algeria.
Now Africa has added up four more new ones: Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo.
On Sunday, Angola-- portrayed as a country of never-ending civil wars-- put its longtime problems firmly to one side and celebrated its "miraculous" achievement.
"Great! Great! Fantastic! I hope we will try to do a good job in the World Cup,'' Akwa said, after the 1-0 victory against Rwanda that fired its country to its first world cup. "This is a great thing for a country like Angola. We will start to prepare ourselves for the finals in Germany.''
Angolan fans that traveled to Kigali couldn’t wait, rushing to the pitch of Amahoro Stadium to congratulate palanca negra. Flags of red, black and gold were flying in the stadium after the victory and fans were unceasingly repeating: viva Angola, viva Angola!
Angola was the first African country to qualify for Germany 2006, as their match finished before all the others. Angola topped group 4 after vying along with Nigeria.
Ghana's long wait for a World Cup finals place ended in ardent style on Saturday when the Black Stars beat Cape Verde Islands 4-0 to qualify for next year's finals in Germany. Ghana were competing with SA for the first place in group 2.
Hawks of Togo, the biggest surprise in Africa advanced at the expense of 2002 World Cup quarter-finalist Senegal in group 1. The small West African country got its ticket after beating Congo- Brazza 3-2.
Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire won Group 3 after beating Sudan 3-1. Cote d’Ivoire prevented Cameroon's Indomitable Lions from reaching the World Cup finals for an African record sixth time.
Tunisia was the fifth nation to book its ticket for Germany next summer, after equalizing with Morocco 2-2 in Tunis.
There used to be rumors blaming CAF (Confederation of African Football) for a deliberate favor for big soccer nations concerning the African world cup tickets.
2003, CAF changed qualification rules and combined the qualifications for both African cup and the world cup.
During its first world cup participation, last time in Korea and Japan, Senegal proved that there was no small nation in soccer, raising alone high the African torch in quarter-finals.