June 2014


Message from the Editor: Lets Goal Ghana ! The Peoples Campaign

Me Firi Ghana’s Global Social media campaign launches to frenzied activity, Now YOU need to join the movement!

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At 12:00 GMT Tuesday 10th June we launched our World cup social media campaign we believe can be the envy the world over. There has been months of strategizing how best we can execute the campaign and now the time has come to execute with excellence. The word is we are trending in the US with our hashtag #LetsGoalGhana during yesterday afternoons activities, visibly irking the Americans and that’s what it’s all about making impact!

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But why the campaign? …Simply we were inspired to create this campaign because of the exploits of the Ghana team at the last world cup and the affect their success had on all of us. We wanted to make sure this time around all that emotion be it agony and ecstacy was captured, recorded and made accessible for everybody and anybody to tap into..

The objective of the campaign is to create a social media phenomenon, by owning defining moments and conversations relating to the World Cup. We also want to unite, showcase and share the passion of the global Ghanaian community. During this time we want to make Ghana accessible for everyone not just Ghanaians. The campaign will pay particular attention to audiences in the UK, USA, Ghana and Canada within the 18-35 Age demographic.

The campaign will be executed by utilising our social media platforms (Twitter,Facebook & Instagram) as well as our blog posting proactive and reactive content throughout the World Cup using the hash tag #LetsGoalGhana. Our Media partners who include; OMG Ghana, GUBA, Benny Bonsu, Ameyaw Debrah, Goal.com (Ghana) and MyGhanaRoots will be working alongside us to create a unique online experience.

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A world cup toolkit consisting of a selection of exclusive images (created by Me Firi Ghana’s Creative Director Samuel Mensah) will be available for downloaded from 12 June 2014 on our website. These images can be uploaded to various platforms to allow you to get involved and engage with the campaign. Don’t forget fans can also purchase official merchandise and original products via our website.

 Lets Goal Ghana media partner/Ambassador Benny Bonsu said of the campaign;

As a true Ghanaian, my focus this summer is to stay a TRUE GHANAIAN. Our culture, our people and our history show a group of people who are aspirational. This World Cup will be the same. Aspiring to be an inspiration not only to Ghanaians, but to the rest of the world. I am extremely happy to be part of and support the #LetsGoalGhana campaign by #MefiriGhana simply because; it represents a new inspirational Africa. Not just Ghana.”

Now its on you to make the campaign what you want it to be. It has already started impressively and it has the potential to become a worldwide phenomenon. However you want to use the tools of the campaign is up to you but remember whatever you do make sure you do it to inspire, inform and unite not just a generation of Ghanaians but global community of people to love and beauty of Ghanaian culture.

I’m really excited are you? In the Black stars we trust! #LetsGoalGhana !

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Forgiven and Forgotten? Suarez and Ghana, four years on…

Ghana’s relationship with the man whose hand rocked the cradle of Ghanaian dreams and turned them into dust..

There are moments in life where everything seems to slow down, and your heart seems to stop. Your senses become extra-sensitive to the air, the temperature, the ambience of your surroundings – so sensitive that you can even sense that you are about to reach a crossroad in life, where one of two things could happen, both options having the ability to have a massive impact on your future.

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The 119th minute of the World Cup Quarter-Final between Ghana and Uruguay was such a moment. And if you’re a Black Star, you can fully identify with the phenomenon I just described. Ghana had been applying pressure for ages, as the clock ticked towards penalties. The last African team standing in the first ever World Cup in Africa. The world was willing us on. Just one more goal, would take us to the semi-finals – and with confidence rising, and the continent’s support, who knows where we could’ve gone from there? Ghana pressed, and pressed; huffed, and puffed, heeding the call to destiny. Ghana felt destiny was in their own hands.

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Alas, we didn’t know that it wasn’t our hands in which our destiny lay, but in the hand of one Luis Alberto Suarez

Watching Dominic Adiyah fling his head at the ball as it dropped in the penalty box, time slowed down. Despite the speed of the shot, your eyes were able to track the trajectory of the ball. It was headed straight for the goal.

Away from the goalkeeper.

It’s a goal.

It has to be a goal.

Oh my God, it’s actually going to happen!

It’s almost there…

…And then, just as sure as the ball is going into the net, you see two hands raised by someone other than the goalkeeper and the ball begins to travel away from the goal. Dejection. Disappointment. Frustration heightened even further by Asamoah Gyan’s attempts to lob the ball to God with his penalty. Frustration morphing into blind fury as shots of Suarez jumping with glee on the sidelines came into view. If I had a pound for every supermalt bottle/kebab/Malta Guinness bottle/expletive which was thrown when those images first appeared across the world…

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The vitriol aimed at Luis Suarez in the days and weeks following his treacherous act was incredible. Ghanaians across the world began to venerate him as a figure slightly less evil than, if not shoulder-to-shoulder with, Lucifer himself – an example of everything dark, twisted, dishonourable in this life we live. People even began to pray against ‘every Suarez in [my] life’! ’m convinced his irrational and nonsensical biting of an opponent a few months later was just a manifestation of all the curses Ghanaians had thrown his way!

So fast forward almost four years. Four years since our dreams were shattered just as they were almost tangible to touch, our place in history snatched by the Uruguayans hand. How is Suarez seen by Ghanaians today? Speaking to fellow football supporters, there remains an element of distrust and dislike towards a player who since his act has been brought to our front doorstep on a regular basis by plying his trade in the English Premier League, the most watched league in the world.

And yet, the harshness of ill-will towards him seems to have been numbed a great deal by his weekly displays of footballing skill and goal scoring prowess which baffle most observers consistently. This season especially, ever since his return from a ban for another bite (manifestation of his overdraft in Ghanaian curses I’d imagine) Suarez has concentrated on his football and cut out most of his dark arts. From a man whom many wanted thrown off our shores, he has now become a stand-in Liverpool captain, a front-runner for this seasons Player of the Year and Golden Boot and…whisper it…quite a well-behaved player.

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The resentment towards the man whose hand rocked the cradle of Ghanaian dreams has cooled, it has negated a great deal. Retrospect has allowed Ghanaians to understand that despite the treachery of his actions, Ghana still had their destiny in their own control but yet they decided not only to sky the resultant penalty (the politics of which could be another article in itself) but sky a few more in the actual penalty shoot-out! Time has began to heal, began to allow us to take responsibility for our own failure. And time has allowed Suarez to grow from the petulant and uncomfortably-deplorable brat he was to the fearsome and driven footballer he is today.

Time is a healer. The pain will always be there. And I still wouldn’t hang my hat on Suarez being able to make it clean through Kotoka International Airport safe if he ever passed through. But both he and Ghanaians have made great strides over the years. Who knows, if Ghana make it through our Group of Death, we could be set with a shot at sweet revenge against one of the best players in the world. If that bridge comes our way, it may be time to start praying against every Suarez in our life again

Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

Meet the Ghana World Cup Squad 2014: Introducing Jonathan Mensah

The heir apparent!

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Not to be confused with his namesake John Mensah, Jonathan Mensah is seemingly the heir apparent to the former.  Going by the name Jonathan on his jersey in 201o to avoid confusion with the then Captain John Mensah , he will have no such worries this year as the former captain was not included in the squad this time round. The more than capable defender will relishing his second world cup this time as certain starter as opposed to cover for the defensive partner ship of John Mensah/Isaac Vorsah four years ago.

Jonathan joined Free State Stars in the 2008 off-season and was signed from Ghanaian side Ashanti Gold.In January 2010, after joining Udinese, Jonathan moved to Spanish club Granada on loan. In July 2011, Jonathan moved to newly promoted French Ligue 1 side Evian for an undisclosed fee.

During the 2012-13 season, Jonathan struggled with fitness and form. He played six games with the reserve side in the Championnat de France Amateur level 2. Jonathan returned to the first team in 2013, and featured in the club’s opening game of the 2013-14 Ligue 1 campaign, playingthe full ninety minutes in the club’s 1-1 draw with Sochaux in August 2013.

Jonathan’s International career started in 2009, he was in the Ghana team for the under 20 youth championshipin Kigali and helped Ghana win the  tournament Jonathan’s performances during this competition earned him a call-up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa where he was given the number 8 shirt usually worn by Michael Essien.Jonathan established himself as a central defensive partner for John Mensah in the absence, through injury, of first-choice centre back Isaac Vorsah. Jonathan played in two out of the three group stage games for Ghana at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and also in the round of 16 win against United States.

After an impressive World Cup in 201o, Jonathan will be hoping for a even better one this year.

Jonathan Mensah, Me Firi Ghana salutes you!

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Meet the Ghana World Cup Squad 2014: Introducing Samuel Inkoom….

Mr Versatile!

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The Ghanaian right back Samuel Inkoom is one of the survivors of the 2010 World Cup squad. In fact he was in the starting 11 which took to the field in Johannesburg to play Uruguay in that epic quarter final. Four years on and he is almost a certainty to start Ghana’s group games given the experience he has built up over the years not to mention his talent.

Inkoom is a right back by trade but can also play wing back in a 3-5-2 system or also right wing in a standard 4-4-2 system. Its versatility like this that may prove vital if Ghana want to progress to the latter stages of the tournament. Having made his first appearance for the senior team in 2008 and played at U-17 and U-20 level, Inkoom knows the rigours of international football.

He began his career in Ghana. In 2009 he moved from Asante Kotoko to FC Basel in the Swiss Premier Legaue on a three-year contract. He made his Basel debut in a 2–0 defeat to FC St. Gallen in July 2009. He was a member of their double trophy winning team in 2010, which included the Swiss Championship and domestic cup.

In 2011 Inkoom moved to FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk of Ukraine where he remains today. However In February 2013 Inkoom moved to Bastia on a loan deal for the rest of the 2013-14 season.The following season Inkoom was on the move again on six-month loan, this time to Greek club Platanias in January 2014.

With 44 caps for Ghana he is one of the most experienced defender in the squad at the age of just 25! His experience will be vital if Ghana are to qualify from a tricky group.

Samuel Inkoom, Me Firi Ghana salutes you!

#LetsGoalGhana

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Meet the Ghana World Cup Squad 2014: Introducing Adam Kwarasey…

A Safe pair of hands!

 

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Adambathia Larsen Kwarasey is quietly cementing himself as Ghana’s first choice keeper ahead of the likes of Fatau Dauda and Stephen Adams. His recent excellent performance against the Netherlands in Rotterdam will do his chances of starting in the World Cup no harm at all. He was arguably Ghana’s best player and kept the scoreline to a respectable 1-0.

Born in Oslo to a Ghanaian father and a Norwegian mother ,the 6ft 3 inch Kwarasey started out playing youth football with Trosterud and Vålerenga in Norway.After moving to Strømsgodset, he made his debut in May 2007. Kwarasey was the captain of the club when Strømsgodset in 2013 won the Norwegian league titltle for the first time since 1970.He also won the Kniksen Award as the best goalkeeper in the 2013 season. It was in November 2007 that Kwarasey declared that he would play international football for Ghana,  even though he would later play a friendly match for the Norway under-21’s.

In October 2010, Kwarasey received his Ghanaian passport and became eligible to play for Ghana.On 30 July 2011, Kwarasey was called up tothe Ghana national team for a match against Nigeria. That match was postponed due to security reasons,although Kwarasey confirmed his intention to become Ghana’s first-choice goalkeeper. He made his international debut for Ghana in September 2011 in an 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Swaziland,before playing in a friendly match against Brazil at Craven Cottage in London three days later.

Kwarasey was named to Ghana’s 23-man squad for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations but did not play a match as Kwesi Appiah favoured Fatou Dauda at the time much to the surprise of many observers. However this time around he looks to have found form at the right time and is favourite to be first choice between the sticks for Brazil.

Adam Kwarasey, Me Firi Ghana salutes you!

See below for  Kwarasey in fine form in  a friendly against Brazil!

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Meet the Ghana World Cup Squad 2014: Introducing James Kwesi Appiah….

The Boss!

 

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James Kwesi Appiah goes into the 2014 World Cup as the first Ghanaian manager (our previous two being Serbian) to take Ghana to a World Cup finals. Even with Ghana being in the toughest World Cup group (according to FIFA rankings) the pressure is on the 53 year old to ensure Ghana at least reach the second round following the rollercoaster ride to the quarter finals in 2010 and the disappointing African Nations Cup campaign last year.

Often much derided by the Ghanaian press there are signs that Appiah is creating a new type of harmony within the squad and could get the best of returning players such as Michael Essien and Kevin Prince Boateng.

Appiah has pedigree in the Ghanaian game. He played as a left back, for Asante Kotoko, between 1983 and 1993. He won 5 caps for the Ghanaian national team between 1987 and 1992. Including two appearances FIFA World Cup qualifying matches where he also captained the team.

During his coaching education he received technical training from both Manchester City and Liverpool. He later became Ghana’s assistant coach between 2007 and 2012. So he knows the players inside out and has also been astute in bringing through some of the younger players in the squad.

He was appointed as the Head coach of the Ghanaian national team in April 2012 when at the time he wasn’t confident on his chances of landing the job even though the media were. He guided Ghana safely through qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil by topping their initial qualifying group. However the real triumph over his critics was overseeing a 6-1 demolition of Egypt in the final qualifying round which all but booked Ghana’s place in Brazil  He was given a new two-year contract in May 2014.

James Kwesi Appiah, Me Firi Ghana salutes you!

#LetsGoalGhana

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@kwesitheauthor)

Kwesi Appiah Names final 23 man squad for 2014 World Cup

The Final Cut!

Following Ghana’s 1-0 Friendly loss to Netherlands on Saturday, Ghana  head coach has officially culled his squad. Three players have been dropped from the squad to complete the final 23.

The players to miss out are; Jeffrey Schlupp of Leicester City, Helsingborgs striker David Accam, andTurkey-based Jerry Akaminko, who broke a fibula in Rotterdam. Schlupp who had a difficult game in Rotterdam was unsurprisingly dropped as he really struggled to make any kind of impact. This makes Middlesbrough winger Albert Adomah is the only player based in England to make the squad.

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Kwadwo Asamoah and Michael Essien are two of the eight players in the squad with previous World Cup experience, while Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari will play at their third straight finals.

The Black Stars’ final friendly will be against South Korea in Miami before the team arrive in the Brazilian city Maceio on 11 June, five days before they face the United States.

The final squad is as follows;

Goalkeepers: Fatau Dauda (Orlando Pirates), Adam Kwarasey (Stromsgodset), Stephen Adams (Aduana Stars).

Defenders: Samuel Inkoom (Platanias), Daniel Opare (Standard Liege), Harrison Afful (Esperance), John Boye (Rennes), Jonathan Mensah (Evian), Rashid Sumalia (Mamelodi Sundowns).

Midfielders: Michael Essien (AC Milan), Sulley Muntari (AC Milan), Rabiu Mohammed (Kuban Krasnodar), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus), Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese), Afriyie Acquah (Parma), Christian Atsu (Vitesse), Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough), Andre Ayew (Marseille), Mubarak Wakaso (Rubin Kazan).

Forwards: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Schalke 04), Abdul Majeed Waris (Valenciennes), Jordan Ayew (Sochaux)

#LetsGoalGhana