JOHANNESBURG (AP) — African fans hoping that Ghana could become the first team from the continent to make the semifinals of the World Cup tried to console themselves late Friday after the Black Stars fell to Uruguay in a penalty shootout.
"I have every reason to support Ghana," businessman James W. Saye Kea said in Liberia. "Just that I am disappointed by the defeat."
In Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, supportive chants of "Ghana! Ghana!" rang out after the final whistle, and fans noted that Brazil was also knocked out Friday and France did not make the final 16.
In a statement, South Africa's governing African National Congress said it was impressed by Ghana's performance, which proved Africans were capable of playing at the highest level.
"We are also very confident that the lessons learnt from this tournament will put Africa in a better position for the next World Cup in Brazil," said the ANC, which had urged South Africans to support Ghana after South Africa became the first host nation eliminated after group play.
Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria and Ivory Coast have also been eliminated.
Muslim fans in Guinea had appealed for Friday prayers in support of Ghana, and sacrificed chickens according to the rites of traditional religions.
In Yeoville, a central Johannesburg neighborhood that is home to immigrants from across Africa, strains of Shakira's official World Cup song, "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)," could be heard coming from bars after each of Ghana's successful penalty kicks. At the end, somber fans walked slowly home.
Musa Badjie, a fan in Gambia, was angry.
"This is soccer, not handball," he said. "The right decision would have been to validate the Ghanaian goal and give a red card to the Uruguayan player who used his hands to push the ball back in the field of play."
Back in Ouagadougou, Seydou Tiendrebeogo was in tears after watching the game on a big screen television.
"Ghana has ruined the dreams of the continent," she said.
Associated Press writers Jonathan Paye-Layleh in Sierra Leone, Brahima Ouedraogo in Burkina Faso, Lesego Motshegwa in South Africa and Aboulie John in Gambia contributed to this report.