Ten years on since Luis Suarez cleared a ball on the line to deny Ghana the opportunity to make history and become the first African country to play in the semifinal of the World Cup.
The Black Stars were in an euphoric mood when a header from Dominic Adiyiah looked likely to hit the back of the Uruguay net, but ‘controversial’ Uruguay forward Luis Suarez blatantly handled the ball on the line.
Suarez was shown a red card and the Black Stars were awarded a spot kick, one which was missed by the country’s all-time top scorer Asamoah Gyan.
Recounting on the traumatic event on GTV Sports + and quoted by BBC Africa, John Paintsil stated that they were cheated because the ball had crossed the line, he added that a goal should have been awarded instead of a penalty.
“For me, the Uruguay game is a game I think we won,” John Paintsil said.
“We were cheated”.
“To clear the ball from the line with your hand – it’s supposed to be a goal.”
He continues: “For me, I thought, ‘last man on the line, touch it with his hand, it’s supposed to be a goal’ – so I was already celebrating that we are through.” Pantsil recalls.
“Then I saw it was a penalty and I said, ‘What?’ I was shouting, ‘No, no, take the ball to the centre (circle), take the ball to the centre.’”
Paintsil was then quizzed if he would have handled the ball if he was in Suarez’s shoes.
“One has to do what one has to do to make his country proud and that’s what he did to us.”
Paintsil argued that no African player would ever do that.
“There’s no African player that would have done that,” he argues.
“Africans are more athletic. Even when the ball is on the other line, I would have tried to kick the ball, kung-fu style.”
Even after 10 years on, the pain of the event still lingers in the memory of Paintsil.
“It still pains. I’m still feeling it anytime I think about it,” says Pantsil.
“A lot of things would have changed in Ghanaian football, in our country and also in Africa. Maybe adding numbers to the next World Cup, the more an African team goes forward, the more we can add more countries to our package. For me I don’t know when I’m going to forget about this memory but now it’s part of me,” he added.
The game after 90 minutes and extra time ended 1-1, Uruguay went on defeat Ghana 4-2 on penalties, with Asamoah Gyan converting the first kick of the shout-out.