The Rev. Peter Gillette, pastor of the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, in Camas, tasted heaven when his native country of Ghana defeated the U.S. men’s soccer team in the round of 16 stage of the 2010 World Cup June 26, in South Africa.
“When it got to overtime, I couldn’t watch anymore. I went to the office to try and do some work,” Gillette said. “So, I’m following online and I see that Ghana is up 2-1. I couldn’t believe it. I went back home and enjoyed the rest of the game.”
When Ghana and Uruguay squared off in the quarterfinals Friday, Gillette wore his Ghana jersey with great pride. He had never been more nervous and excited. Only an afternoon mass could tear him away from the television.
In 1974, Zaire became the first team from Africa to reach the quarterfinals. Cameroon followed in 1990, and so did Senegal in 2002. On Friday, Ghana attempted to become the first team from Africa to advance to the semifinals.
“Initially, I had my doubts about this team. I was apprehensive,” Gillette said. “When I saw them putting balls in the back of the net, I became more optimistic. You can play exciting soccer, but if you don’t put the ball in the back of the net, there’s nothing to talk about.”