December 2013


New Years Day in Ghana: Party on the Beach 1/1/2014

All Roads lead to Bojo

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What better way to kick off the new year then with a beach party! Once again Akwaaba UK have got you covered (as part of its Ghana Escapes part package holiday) they host the Party on the beach at Bojo Beach off Kokrobite Road, (Near the Old Weija Barrier) from 10am until late. Over 20 Dj’s & Mc’s form UK,USA & Ghana will be present playing the best in Afro beats, Hip-hop, Dancehall and Reggae. The sun will be out and so will a massive contingent of Ghanaians from all over the globe ready to party.

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As well as the latest sounds to entertain you, there will also be Swimwear Fashion Show featuring Aya Morrison, Nineteen57TH and Me Firi Ghana. It’s an event to be missed and an ideal way to spend the first day of the new year chilling with friends and perhaps making some new ones. Food and drink will be on offer as will the chance to get active by playing Beach Football and Volleyball. If you in Ghana this new year then all roads lead to Bojo!

For more information call: +233244 649383 /+233249 116116, BBM: 21E0F25D &  2ADA7309, www.akwaabauk.com

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Message From The Editor: Vote Me Firi Ghana for the UK Blog Awards 2014

We Need your vote!

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I have been involved with the Me Firi Blog blog from its inception and I can honestly say that this year the quality of the content being published and the frequency of posts is at its highest level since its creation. This is due to the fantastic team of bloggers we have at our disposal. They have pushed the boundaries of  our content and delivered the stories and information you want to know/hear in order to facilitate the conversations that need to be had within the Ghanaian community in the UK and beyond.

Put simply the blog exists to connect the UK and the wider world with Ghana through relevant news and information. We do this in four ways;

Through our GHRBS (Ghana Rising Black Star) section we profile, highlight and interview Ghanaians under 35 who are pioneering in their field or simply doing great things in their community bringing you inspiring stories wherever we may find them. Our NEWS section reports on current news & sport headlines, promotes events all over the world and ensures you receive the information you require. Within REVIEWS our bloggers review books, music albums, restaurants and attend Ghanaian/afrocentric events to report on these also. Lastly within the FEATURES section we give our bloggers the freedom to write about absolutely anything and regularly touch in local and national issues affecting people in Ghana and UK. This is definitely the most emotive section and posts are written to entertain and or inform the reader in a conversational tone to present the reader to evoke an emotional response.

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Next year is set to be an even bigger year of for the blog as we continue to challenge ourselves to improve our content. Thus we have entered the UK Blog Awards 2014 for  best Art & Culture and Most Innovative blog categories for a company/organisation blog. The public vote is now under way from now until 26th January 2014. The shortlisted blogs with most votes will then be judged by a panel in each industry category from Monday 3rd February 2014 – Monday 24th February 2014.  With the Awards Ceremony on Friday 25th April 2014 and god willing we will be there to pick up an award but in order for that to happen we need your votes!

You can vote by clicking the following URL links;

http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/?s=Me+Firi+Ghana+Blog – Lists both entries so you will need to vote twice

Your support is much appreciated as we continue to make Ghana relevant in 2014!

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Xmas in Ghana 2013: The Annual All White Party 28/12

It Will Be All White On The Night!

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Coming hot on the heels after the All Black party comes the All White Party on 28 December. Once again Rhapsody Lounge (Accra Mall) will host the event. This event is also organised by Akwaaba UK (as part of its Ghana Escapes part package holiday). Thus as ever DJs from the UK and Ghana such as Mos Camp Fifi Nore, Giles Bossman, Mensah, Big L and Solo will be on the decks.

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The best in Old Skool Hip Hop, RnB, Afrobeats, Dancehall & Reggae will be booming from the sound systems and UK/ Ghanaian celebrities will be in attendance. So get your best white garments together and get down to Rhapsody’s for another great party!

For more information call -+233244649383/+233249116116, BBM Pins:21E0F25D &  7B9CF89D  www.akwaabauk.com 

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Xmas in Ghana 2013: The Annual All Black Party 26/12/2013

All Black Everything!

 

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A day after you have stuffed yourself full with Turkey, Chicken, Steak, Kelewele, Jellof or even goat! you can work off those calories at Accra Mall. Yes if you are in Ghana this Christmas then the only place to be on Boxing Day is the Annual All Black Party at Rhapsody’s (Accra Mall) from 9pm till late.

The annual event organised by Akwaaba UK (as part of its Ghana Escapes part package holiday) is known to be a stellar night. With DJs from the UK and Ghana such as Mos Camp Fifi Nore, Giles Bossman, Mensah, Big L and Solo on the decks, an eclectic experience is guaranteed.

 

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They will be playing the best in Old Skool Hip Hop, RnB, Afrobeats, Dancehall & Reggae. As always  UK and Ghanaian celebrities  are bound to be in attendance. So get your best Black garments together and get down to Rhapsody’s to party Ghana stylee!

For more information call -+233244649383/+233249116116  www.akwaabauk.com

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

A NIGHT WITH THE COMPOZERS – 19 December 2013, Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Tottenham

A warm & intimate evening with musical genius

Like many of you, my first exposure to The Compozers came at the Grand Finals of Miss Ghana UK 2013. Intrigued by a name which declared ingenuity & class, I was blown away by the eclectic acoustics and superstar swagger of this band of Ghanaian talent who breathed new life into yesterday’s Hiplife classics and today’s Afrobeat bangers. Social media blew up with excitement in the following days as The Compozers were elevated to a brand new level of exposure.

Following an extremely busy few months, Thursday 19th December was another platform for these exceptional young Ghanaian musicians to deliver, as they took to the stage for an intimate showcase wholly dedicated to those who have supported them so diligently so far.

It was impressive to behold the following that the Compozers have cultivated. To be able to draw such heaving numbers on a rainy weeknight, pushing the capacity of the venue to its limit and beyond, was an incredible feat. The Bernie Grant Arts Centre bustled with the bold and the beautiful of the young African community, who all bristled with anticipation as The Compozers prepared away from view.
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When they finally appeared, it was worth the wait. The Compozers exploded onto the scene and left their mark, parading through a cascade of slow jams & hip-hop tunes with effortless swagger. Throughout the night, they were supported by various performers such as afrobeat artist Chuks, the emotive acoustic guitarist Cameron & dance troupe Afrika – the free mic providing an ample breeding ground for up-and-coming talent.

This was the Compozers’ night however. They brought gargantuan energy and awesome vibe as the arena trembled with tunes which played to every emotion, taking the audience for a walk down memory lane and a spin through the chart-toppers of today. From Aaliyah’s Rock The Boat, to Lethal B’s Pow! (which was so good it almost damn-near caused a riot!), from Blackstreet to Drake, from the dance tunes which are ruling the chart to the afrobeat sounds they are renowned for, every rendition was pitch perfect, flawlessly formed for maximum impact.

The Compozers had even mastered a track from Beyoncé’s new album which had just been released exactly a week prior to the event! Amazing. The acoustic banter between David, bassist Nana & guitarist Ben was a sight to behold. Audience members couldn’t even stop themselves from showering Charlie the keyboardist with money notes during the rendition of Ciara’s Body Party, it was that good!

When the highly-anticipated Afrobeat set finally dropped as the grand finale of the night, the Compozers ensured every single soul in the building lost composure. The afrobeat playlist was relentless, every hit colossal in impact – and the Compozers’ prodigiously talented & popular drummer Stephen ensured that every beat forced even the dullest of bones to submit.
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The masterful Compozers had a trick up their sleeve which unfolded throughout the night – this night was one where the audience were the vocalists, co-stars, just as much a part of the show as the band themselves. The crowd swayed, and azonto’d, and sung every note – and they finally became one with The Compozers during the Afrobeat set, with the stage heaving with throngs of people skanking and dancing as hit after glorious hit were dropped with no mercy.

This was a night which surpassed all expectations; and the frightening thing is that The Compozers are only going to get better – the only way for these exceptional Black Stars is up! This runaway success of a showcase left every single person in attendance already anticipating the next time they will spend A Night With The Compozers.

Jermaine Bamfo @Dr_Jabz27

For excerpts of the night, check out the official Compozers Instagram at @compozers, and my own personal Instagram @jabz27. And for consensus from those who attended, check out on twitter the hashtag #anightwiththecompozers

 

Doctors Corner: Depression Exposed

Have You Ever Tried Sleeping With a Broken Heart?

This month has been a month of loss for me personally. Terrible loss. And I have felt the effects of these losses in a way which has at times been unbearable and excruciating. Especially when it seems nobody has any time to hear of your concerns, or wants to recognise why you are down. When people want to cover their eyes and ears to your darkness because it brings them comfort, rather than be there for you in the way you’d want and need them to be. It’s painful.

Depression affects more people than we would care to imagine. Depression is more than ‘feeling down’, which is a natural everyday response. Depression lingers for weeks & months, and is severe enough to begin to affect one’s daily routine. It is a silent disease, a disease of loss. Loss of appetite. Loss of sleep quality. Loss of drive pursuing the things which you enjoy the most – hobbies, food, sex, etc. It is prevalent amongst our schools, it is a squatter in many homes, it is a regular church-goer. Without treatment or attention, depression can derail careers, destroy relationships and ruin lives. Depression hides amongst us in plain view, especially in the Ghanaian community.

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However we tend to not want to call a spade a spade.

Depression, as with many other mental illnesses, tends to be asked to go away in our community. People are asked to suck it up. People seek for a cause or root, when many times there is none to be found. There is a habit in the Ghanaian community to attribute depression’s irrational darkness and the suicidal ideation which can result as being caused by the devil or demons or witchcraft. That’s a whole other topic for another day. However the main point is that depression is an illness, a disease. And the first steps to treating it are to recognise it for exactly what it is.

We as a community have done a great job in bringing particular diseases to light and raising awareness of them. There are many charities and projects which have sought to shine a light on diseases such as sickle-cell and autism, which is great. However mental illness is still a dirty word in our community, and as such remains criminally-misunderstood and even more criminally mismanaged – this is something I am passionate about and hope to cover in more detail later.

I could write tons and tons about medication and other therapies, but I want to make clear that social support stands amongst the best of treatment options. And the only way we as a community can strengthen our abilities to grant social support is if we began to be honest about mental illness, uncompromising, educated, and ready to manage it properly. For now, let’s look out for our depressed brothers and sisters, and give people less of a hard time when they are feeling ‘down’ in such a severe way. Let’s try and offer as much support as necessary, and learn more about the illnesses of the mind. Hopelessness and helplessness can arise, but depression is highly-treatable, and by recognising the signs and doing something about it, you can make sure that your Black Star shines bright once again.

Dr Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

Every month Dr Bamfo will shine the spotlight on physical and mental illness on the Me Firi Ghana Blog. Any information published here is not a substitute for medical guidance you receive from your General Practitioner (GP) pertaining to your own health and  you should always follow their advice.

Introducing…. Dr Jermaine Bamfo

From early adversity to present success

Dr. Jermaine Bamfo is a 25 year old trainee medic/surgeon of Ghanaian heritage. He was brought up in East London, the son of an acclaimed Bishop and a Senior Staff Nurse. Originally thought to be a special needs child (because all he could speak and understand was Twi & Ga, no English!), Jermaine quickly proved otherwise, becoming a mainstay of the Gifted & Talented programme through primary and secondary school level, culminating in becoming a representative of Tower Hamlets Schools & visiting the Department of Education. Leaving secondary school with 15 GCSEs, which included 5 As and 5 A* grades, Jermaine begun to pursue success across the nation, claiming a First Class Bachelors in Anatomy & Human Biology at the University of Liverpool, before entering the fiercely-competitive Graduate-Entry Medicine scheme at Imperial College London, taking his position as one of only 50 successful entrants beating out more than 1000 applicants. In 2013, Jermaine became the first ever person of black African descent to successfully graduate from Imperial College London’s Graduate-Entry Medicine Scheme. He is currently thriving training as a qualified doctor in Northern Ireland.

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Jermaine has engaged many youths over the past years by being a part of many mentoring and tutoring schemes, believing in the importance of building up Afro-Caribbean youths in a difficult world which always seems determined to see the worst in them. He is very passionate about charity and is currently engaging with the Liesel Angel Trust, the British Red Cross and the GUBA Foundation.

Jermaine is known by many for his talent for art, with his drawings claiming the attention of stars such as Meagan Good. He is a fervent churchgoer, and a die-hard supporter of Liverpool FC, and has an eye for photography & design, being the moderator and designer for many social media pages and promotions for a variety of pursuits. He is also the personal manager of the current Miss Ghana UK 2013, and is the creative hand behind all her social media and promotional work. However one area which Jermaine has always had passion for is his writing, and this young Black Star hopes that his addition to the writing team for the Me Firi Ghana Blog will prove to be the perfect platform on which he can amalgamate his love for both writing and his homeland of Red Gold and Green.

Dr Jermaine Bamfo Me Firi Ghana salutes you!

As mentioned Jermaine Bamfo is a resident blogger at Me Firi Ghana. Catch more posts from this inspiring young man right here on the Me Firi Ghana blog or you can follow him on twitter; @Dr_Jabz27

Chop Pot Launches the First Chop Bar at 02 Centre, Finchley Road

7th December saw the first ever London chop bar launched by Chop Pot brand founded by Affia Bioh

The vibe at the Chop Bar was infectious – not out of place in a shopping concession decorated in Christmas spirit, there were smiles and laughter all round. It was a struggle to even get a word in with Affia, as the stream of customers simply didn’t stop.

Many of the masses were surprised that the Chop Pots were being offered for free, pulling their wallets out on approaching the Bar and asking how much a selection would cost – such was the quality of what was available and the sumptuous scent of Ms Affia’s delicacies which drew them to the Bar in the first place.

Service was with a smile, with clarity and  no fuss, as Miss Bioh and her team set the standard on day one by running an efficient and slick operation which was well received.

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A Chinese customer was clearly impressed, saying ‘I’m amazed! I’ve never seen anything like this in this area – and it was free!’ After declaring the venture as ‘very impressive’ when asked if she would be coming back to the Chop Bar she said ‘yes! Definitely!’

A Jamaican family revelled in the ‘richness and quality’ of the foods on offer, and one Spanish shopper wished Affia congratulations on the new venture! That was the beauty of the Chop Bar – it drew the attention of Ghanaians pulled in by a familiar vibe, and attracted people from all walks of life intrigued by the hustle-and-bustle vibrancy of African finesse on offer.

There were a good range of foods available – Jollof rice, spicy chicken pepper soup, peanut soup, spicy spinach soup (v) option, chicken stew…The Jollof rice with chicken stew and the Nkatenkwan proved especially popular, with one adventurous Nigerian soul even combining the two! (I will at this juncture say that the Nkatenkwan has got me considering placing a marriage proposal for Affia – it’s that good!) But the Chop Bar worked hard and courteously to ensure that the teeming masses indulged in all that was on offer. “Let’s try spinach soup”, her innately enterprising spirit broadening the reach of interest and potential future sales.

Customers were so satisfied by the samples that after eating they were even asking passers-by to come by the Chop Bar and try for themselves! When people tear themselves away from their Saturday schedule and start placing themselves in your Sales team for free, that’s how you know your food is good!

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As Miss Affia found a second wind to meet the ever-increasing demand to sample Chop Pot’s delicacies, she joked “my mum is waiting! If this Chop Bar doesn’t take off in 3 months, I’ll be married off to a chief in a Ghanaian village!”

Well if the old adage of ‘a man’s heart is through his stomach’ is true, I’m sure Miss Affia will have a stream of new suitors (and enough money to fund the wedding entirely) following the launch of this Chop Bar!

You can find the Chop Bar at Level One of the O2 Centre in Finchley, North London. It is open from 11.30 – 6PM 7 days a week!

Jermaine Bamfo @Dr_Jabz27

 

The Ghanaian Supporters Guide to the Brazil 2014 World Cup

Where to stay, what to do and see whilst you take in Ghana’s Group games

The World cup is an event that brings a whole nation together, turns conflicts into peaceful reconciliation, and transforms non-football fans into mega fans the next day. FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil is approaching, it will start on the 12th June and ends on the 13th July. It’s an event I believe all Ghanaians are strongly anticipating. This article is as a ‘guide’ for those planning to travel to support the Black Stars as they play against their Group G opponents. For those of you who will be experiencing the matches through your TV screens, this will give you an insight into the cities stars such as Asamoah Gyan & Michael Essien will be playing in.

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Ghana play their first match on the 16th of June in the city of Natal, Rio Grante De Norte against the USA. The match will take place in ‘Arena Das Dunas’ a newly renovated stadium. Midway Mall, the largest shopping centre in the state, with 300 shops and many restaurants is 20 minutes away from the stadium. Transportation is not a problem as you will find buses near the malls. The city is known for its beaches, such as Ponta Negra beach. Hotels near the stadium are Monzo Palace Hotel-http://www.monzapalace.com.br/home_eng.html whose rates start from £33 per night and Hotel Maine from £37 per night. Via Costeira is one of the city’s avenues, there you will find gorgeous hotels, at much higher prices. Natal is the closest regional capital city to Africa in Brazil, in Natal you are nearer to Ghana than you will be in any other Brazilian city.

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The Black stars’ s second match against Germany on the 21st of June will be held in Fortaleza. The match will take place in Estadio Castelão , Fortaleza, a host city for the Round of 16 and quarter finals also. There are buses that  depart from the seaside promenade at Avenida Beira Mar which stop within  a mile of the stadium but you will need to walk some kilometres to get there. The city is known for its many beaches, restaurants, handicraft markets. Hotels within 25 minutes from the stadium are Magna Pria Hotel-http://www.magna.com.br/en/ at a cost of between £42 -£52 per night. Comfort Hotel Fortalezahttp://www.comfortinn.com/hotel-fortaleza-brazil-BR010 at £50 per night, with free breakfast included; Hotel Recanto Wirapuru –http://www.hotelrecantowirapuru.com.br/, from £55 per night, and Golden Beach Hotel is £46 per night. Estadio Castelão was the first stadium to be confirmed ready for the 2014 World cup.

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On the 26th June, the Black Stars will face Portugal in their last group game before they hopefully qualify for the second round. The match will take place in Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincho in Brasilia. Its a large venue that will also hold the quarter and semi finals. Some of the hotels near the stadium are Manhattan Plaza – http://www.kubitschek.com.br/english , £47 per night (they do not accepts cheques) and Mercure Brasilia Eixo at £46 per night. Brasilia has many tourist attractions such as Brasilia National Park and National Congress Centre. Patio Brazil Mall, one of the finest shopping centres in the capital is 10 minutes away from the stadium.

To apply for World Cup tickets you should visit the official FIFA website – http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/organisation/ticketing/ticket-information/application-process/index.html

Myriam Osei @AngelPeacejoy

Ghana’s World Cup 2014 Group opponents: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

The Lowdown on Ghana’s World Cup Group 

Ghana are hoping for a chance of redemption after the excruciating heartbreak & scandal of the quarter-finals of WC2010. However only the naïve would deny we were handed anything but a mountainous task, with Group G being the only group of WC2014 in which all four teams had reached the knockout stage of WC2010. Let us review the enemies of progress which stand in the way between Ghana& progression to the knockout stages…

TEAM ONE: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (FIFA Ranking: 13th)

The opponents against which Ghana have had their finest moments

Defeated twice by Ghana, the USA will be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of being third-time lucky against a Ghana team quickly becoming an established thorn in the side of the Americans.

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Tottenham legend & former World Cup winner Jurgen Klinsmann is the coach who may argue that with this squad he has the best chance of succeeding where others have failed. The midfield is USA’s strong point, run by midfield maestros Michael Bradley & Jermaine Jones. The big question mark is the defence – they haven’t settled on an established defensive strategy or partnership throughout this qualifying campaign, and have arguably been left mostly untested over the past couple of years – so regardless of their midfield talent, and the scoring prowess of Clint Dempsey, Landon Donavan& Jozy Altidore, who knows how the defence will hold up against Baby Jet and Co.?

TEAM TWO: GERMANY (FIFA Ranking: 2nd)

Boateng v Boateng

We meet another familiar face in Germany, who defeated us by a single goal in WC2010. The Germans are known for efficiency and technical prowess. They have usurped Spain as the Kings of the Continent, culminating in last year’s Champions League Final being an All-German affair.

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Germany is a team which must surely be counted as not only favourites to win the group, but also amongst the handful of favourites to win the trophy outright. Amongst an embarrassment of youthful footballing riches in the form of players such as Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller & Mario Goetze, is one Jerome Boateng. Germany v Ghana will be Boateng v Boateng II, as the brothers face-off once again in an international battle on the biggest stage of them all. It is destiny’s cruel joke that the Boateng Brothers were handed this draw just as the bad blood which had begun between them during the build-up of Ghana/Germany I at WC2010 was beginning to settle…

 

TEAM THREE: PORTUGAL (FIFA Ranking: 5th)

Ronaldo.

Admit it. When the Portuguese were drawn, he was the first person to come to mind. And with good reason. Portugal is an admirable footballing nation. However amongst their ranks is a man who in my opinion is the most complete footballer today: Portugal’s joint top all-time goalscorer – Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo aside, studying this Portugal team gives room for hope and optimism. They are noted for playing a possession game, and hold a mass of experience in their ranks. This Portuguese ‘Golden Generation’ reached the last 4 of WC2006, and the semi-finals of Euro 2012. However, we must keep in mind recent history – if not for an amazing 4-goal salvo from Cristiano, they may not have even qualified against Sweden. And let’s not forget that World Cup qualification was a struggle, with draws against the ‘might’ of ‘giants’ such as Northern Ireland and Israel. This is the team against which I feel our hopes for progression hang upon – this will be the deciding match.

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Against the backdrop of a legendary rivalry, international success has been argued as the yardstick which will ultimately prove who is the greater player: Messi or Ronaldo. For Ghana’s sake, I hope Ronaldo waits four more years before he hands his ballot paper in…

Having been in the ‘Group of Death’ at each of its two World Cups, Ghana should be feared and not fear anyone. We have stood tall amongst giants in the past. Ghana is a nightmare for many if not most of the teams – a peerlessly powerful team with blistering pace & silky skill in all quarters; a beautiful oxymoron of footballing ability. We did not wish for so many years to be a part of the World Cup party to face nobodies – we wished to put our best against the best there is. The Brazil of Africa are going to their second home in 2014 to make that statement clear.

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Regardless of the opposition, whatever happens, I am confident that the world will once again fall in love with the Black Stars.

Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)