Category: SPORT


VOICE EXCLUSIVE: Get 2 for 1 tickets to Jamaica House 2017!

The Voice is offering readers an exclusive 2 for 1 offer for tickets to Jamaica House 2017 at the o2 in London.

The much-anticipated Jamaica House 2017 starts tomorrow at the o2 and runs until August 13. Performers include Freddie McGregor, Ziggy Marley, Luciano, OMI, Nesbeth, Protégé and more.

The races will be shown on the big-screen, so you won’t miss Usain Bolt and other Jamaican athletes as they compete at the IAAF World Championships.

View the Jamaica House 2017 promotional video here -https://youtu.be/J-99HzNWvvk

Click the link below to get this exclusive Voice offer of 2 for 1 tickets to any of the Jamaica House 2017 shows from August 5-13. To take advantage of the offer, book your tickets anytime between now and this Sunday August 6, 2017 at 12 midnight GMT

August 8 Tickets 
August 11 Tickets 

WHY I CHOSE GERMANY OVER GHANA, HENRICHS REVEALS

The Bayer Leverkusen full-back sheds light on pledging his international allegiance to Die Mannschaft over the Black Stars

Germany youngster Benjamin Henrichs has lifted the lid on his decision to commit his international future to the 2014 world champions ahead of Ghana. Born to a German father and a Ghanaian mother in Bocholt, the Bayer Leverkusen right-back made two appearances as Joachim Low’s outfit beat Chile to win the 2017 Fifa Confederations Cup in Russia. He made his debut for Die Mannschaft in an 8-0 triumph over San Marino in November last year.

“Germany asked me at the age of 14 to play for their under-15 national team and I didn’t hear anything from Ghana until now,” Henrichs, who is currently on holiday in Ghana, told Atinka TV. Actually, I thought about it [playing for Ghana], maybe at the beginning, because I saw players like [Michael] Essien playing for Ghana [and] because they were like idols for me. But they [Ghana] never asked and I didn’t think about it anymore. So, when Germany asked, it was clear that I would play for Germany.”

Henrichs’ Germany involvement was down to an outstanding show in Bundesliga last season. In only his second campaign of professional football, the 20-year-old made 29 league appearances, involving 27 starts, as Leverkusen finished 12.

He also made seven outings, involving six starts, in the Champions League.

“I was just playing football at the beginning, so at the age of 11, 12, I didn’t think about playing for Germany or Ghana. Then Germany asked me and why should I say no when this was the only offer I got. That’s why I chose Germany. My mum wanted me to play for Ghana but I think she’s not sad that I’m playing for Germany now. I think she’s still happy.”

 

Ghana Black Stars Name Provisional AFCON 2017 Squad

Ghana Black Stars Coach Avram Grant revealed his provisional squad at a GFA Press conference this morning. A notable omission from the 26 man squad was Jeffrey Schlupp of Leicester City which has come as surprise to many. A less suprising omission was key player and Juventus midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah  who was struggling to make the the required fitness level following a series of knee injuries.

Otherwise the squad is full of familiar faces including the likes of the Ayew brothers, Asamoah Gyan, Daniel Amartey  and Christian Atsu.

The Black Stars will travel  to the United Arab Emirates for a training camp from where Grant will reveal his final squad of 23 by the 4 January deadline set by CAF (Confederation of African Football)

The tournament kicks off in Gabon from 14 January –  5February 2017 to Ghana are in Group D and they will face games against Mali, Egypt and Uganda.

The Black Stars kick off their tournament  against Uganda on 17 January 2017

The full 26 man  Squad is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Razak Braimah (Cordoba, Spain), Adam Kwarasey (Rosenborg, Norway), Richard Ofori (Wa All Stars, Ghana)

Defenders: Harrison Afful (Columbus Crew, USA), Andy Yiadom(Barnsley, England), Baba Rahman (Schalke, Germany), Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht, Belgium), John Boye (Sivasspor,Turkey), Jonathan Mensah (Anzhi, Russia), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City, England), Edwin Gyimah (Orlando Pirates, South Africa)

Midfielders: Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese, Italy), Afriyie Acquah (Torino, Italy), Mubarak Wakaso (Panathinaikos, Greece), Christian Atsu (Newcastle, England), Ebenezer Ofori (AIK Stockholm, Sweden), Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid, Spain), Samuel Tetteh (Leifering, Austria), Joseph Larweh Attamah (Başakşehir, Turkey)

Forwards: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ahli, UAE) Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa, England), Abdul-Majeed Waris (Lorient, France), Andre Ayew (West Ham, England), Ebenezer Assifuah (Sion, Switzerland), Bernard Tekpetey (Schalke, Germany), Rahpael Dwamena (Austria Lustenau, Austria)

 Me Firi Ghana (@Me_FiRi_GHANA)

GHANA’S BLACK QUEENS REACH SEMI-FINALS OF WAFCON 2016

In case it escaped your attention a very important football match took place this weekend involving Ghana No it was not the Black Stars in action but the Black Queens, Ghana’s women football team

They defeated Mali a 3-1  on Saturday to book a place in the semi-finals of the 2016 Women’s African Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Linda Eshun, Samira Suleman and Elizabeth Addo scored to hand the Black Queens all three points in their last group game, with Binta Diarra fetching Mali’s consolation at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde.

With a 3-1 win over Kenya and a 1-1 stalemate with Nigeria prior, Ghana came into Saturday’s game requiring a draw in the least to make the last four.

Mali, in the other hand, had their job cut out as they needed nothing but a win to sail through.

Defender Linda Eshun put Ghana in front in after 37 minutes, capitalising on a blunder by Mali goalkeeper Goundo Samake to make it 1-0.

The Black Queens scored again 30 minutes later.

Following a neat buildup involving Juliet Acheampong and Portia Boakye, Samira Suleman had the easiest job of tapping in from close range.

Captain Elizabeth Addo made it three for Yusif Basigi’s ladies from the spot after she was fouled by Oumou Tangara.

Lala Dicko, nonetheless, pulled one back for Mali three minutes to full-time.

Ghana will face hosts Cameroon in the semi-final tomorrow, same day Nigeria take on South Africa in the other game.

The Black Queens, who are three times losing finalists, are in search for their first title at the championship.

Best of luck to Ghana’s women against Cameroon!

AFCON 2017: GHANA DRAWN IN GROUP D AND FACE FAMILIAR FOES

The Blackstars of Ghana have been drawn in Group D of AFCON 2017 alongside Egypt, Mali and Uganda as the draw was made yesterday in Libreville, Gabon.

Egypt, Ghana and Uganda will  be tired of the sight of each other having been drawn together in Group D only four months after they were placed in the same group for 2018 World Cup qualifying.

Seven-time African champions Egypt will be eager to revive their dominance after some years of under-performing, while Ghana are desperate to win their first title since 1982 and go one better than the runners-up spot they achieved last year and in 2012 and 1992.

Uganda’s last appearance at the tournament was in 1978, when they lost in the final to Ghana.

Gabon kick off the tournament on 14 January, with the final on 5 February.

The hosts appear to have been fortunate in the draw, pitched in Group A alongside debutants Guinea-Bissau, Cameroon and Burkina Faso.

This years competition has been described as the most open for years so promises to be an exciting team. Though one notable absentee are the 2013 winners Nigeria who failed to qualify.

The full group draw is as follows;

2017 AFCON – GROUP STAGES

Group A: Gabon (Hosts), Guinea-Bissau, Cameroon, Burkina Faso

Group B: Algeria, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Senegal

Group C: Ivory Coast, DR Congo, Morocco, Togo

Group D: Ghana, Egypt, Mali, Uganda

Will 2017 be the year Ghana finally end their 34 year wait for glory? Lets hope so!

Me FiRi Ghana (@Me_FiRi_Ghana)

Breaking Barriers: Giving Ghanaian Female Footballer’s a Right To Dream

At the turn of the 21st century, the Ghana national women’s team qualified for the Women’s World Cup, making the Black Queens the first Ghanaian national football team to debut at an international competition. It was another 7 years before the male Black Stars equalled the achievement by qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

 

27-Dream-Academy-Ghana-Iain-SutherlandDespite breaking that glass ceiling, female football in Ghana has struggled to break down other barriers. Today, the women’s game battles thanklessly against stereotypes and opposition, as well as the financial burden which makes development of the women’s game such a difficult prospect.

 

Stories can be found all across Ghana of girls who enjoyed kicking a ball barefoot with friends, cousins, neighbours in the streets and the dust pitches, at school or after church, under the morning sun or in the dusk of evening. Girls who prefer their Ronaldo’s to their Rihanna’s, their Di Marias to their Dumelo’s; young ladies who would take Match Of The Day over Millionaire Matchmaker or would prefer a new pair of Adidas Predators over a pair of Manolo Blahniks.

 

But in Ghana many of these same girls face a tough choice between footballing passion and the aspirations of their parents or family members, or even society as a whole. A daughter’s choice to play sport remains very hard for many to accept. Girls have no business in a man’s world, they would have you believe. Some may propose that religion does not allow for a female to partake in a male pastime. Others would suggest that football makes a girl lazy, butch, unmarriageable material, barren – and to top it all off, the girl wouldn’t get paid well for the privilege anyway.

 

It’s tough to observe the fierce opposition to the prospect of a female footballer which still exists at a large scale in Ghana. Many 27-Dream-Acadely-Ghana-Iain-Sutherland1coaches of girl’s teams advocate that football offers a way out for many girls who are in communities where teenage girls get pregnant or run off to the capital to work as a hawker or sleep on the street. Football can also offer educational support, where it is noted that more than 65% of girls over 15 in the Northern Region have received no formal education (compared to the national average of 21%).

 

In a country where sport and education are traditionally dominated by men, the Right to Dream football academy is fighting against the dominance of male football and gender inequalities by helping provide young women a route to excel at both.

 

Right To Dream has opened the very first residential football academy for girls in Africa – providing lush green pitches and state of the art equipment and facilities to help young women cultivate their skill and aim for the stars. Right To Dream has also been offering scholarships to girls in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. In one round, 1000 girls from those countries took part in trials for the first nine places on the course. Parental scepticism was one of the biggest hurdles faced by the academy when it first launched, so scouts and employees had to physically attend homes of those lucky enough to be selected to attend, in order to explain to family members how beneficial an opportunity this is.

 

ghana.fans.533There are 15 girls at the academy, with two more at recently launched schools in Kumasi and Takoradi. Small but viable steps are being made to give girls a chance and a platform to live their dreams. Former Manchester United scout Tom Vernon, the founder of Right To Dream says that the academy’s programme “not only bodes well for challenging and changing the mind-set around women’s sport in West Africa, but I would hope [it] provides the catalyst for many more similar development opportunities for talented African girls across the continent

 

Right To Dream, which was first established in 1999, has operated an academy service for males since day one. Its structure has provided a safe and secure route to a possible footballing career. Abdul Majeed Waris was the first graduate of Right To Dream to play at a FIFA World Cup, with the honour of being one of the Black Stars to perform for Ghana at World Cup 2014. So the future is bright for the girls who are finding their feet at the new female academies. And with two US scholarships in 2015, the Right To Dream ladies are catching up to the boys and hopefully blazing a trail right through the barriers to the female game in Ghana and the African continent as a whole.

 

By Dr. Jermaine Bamfo

 

Ghana Black Stars To Go With Experience

Veteran goalkeeper Kingson, Muntari and Jordan Ayew return to Ghana Squad for WC Play off with Egypt

 

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Black Stars coach Kwesi Appiah has announced his 25-man squad to face Egypt in the sides’ 2014 World Cup qualifying play-off on 15 October

He sprung a major surprise by including veteran goalkeeper Richard Kingson in his squad.  Kingson, 35, returns after a two-year absence and is joined by Sulley Muntari, Jordan Ayew and Jerry Akaminko for the first-leg match. Kingson is a veteran of the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and brings with him a wealth of experience. It is obvious that Kwesi Appiah as opted for experience in the first match against a notoriously tough opponent.

It will be interesting to see if Kingson actually starts the game or if he is merely in the squad to pass on wisdom to Fatau Dauda and Adam Kwarasey. Either way I’m sure his inclusion will have it’s benefits on the squad as a whole. Sulley Muntari an equally experienced campaigner also returns to the squad after missing the final group game last month. Muntari’s inclusion will provide plenty of competition in Ghana’s midfield and it could prove a headache for Kwesi Appiah to select his best midfield combination. Though I’m sure it’s a headache he would rather have for a game of this magnitude.

The full squad for the match against Egypt is as follows;

Goalkeepers: Fatau Dauda (Orlando Pirates, South Africa), Adam Kwarasey (Stromgodset, Norway), Richard Kingson (Doxa Katokopias, Cyprus)

Defenders: Samuel Inkoom (Dnipro, Ukraine), Daniel Opare (Standard Liege, Belgium), David Addy (Vitoria Guimaraes, Portugal), Baba Abdul Rahman (Greuther Furth Germany), John Boye (Rennes, France), Jerry Akaminko (Eskisehirspor, Turkey), Rashid Sumaila (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Mohammed Awal (Maritzburg United, South Africa)

Midfielders: Michael Essien (Chelsea, England), Emmanuel Frimpong (Arsenal, England) Sulley Muntari (AC Milan, Italy), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus, Italy), Emmanuel Agyemang Badu (Udinese, Italy), Kevin Prince Boateng (Schalke, Germany), Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough, England), Mubarak Wakaso (Rubin Kazan, Russia), Christian Atsu (Vitesse Arnhem, Holland), Andre Ayew (Marseille, France)

Strikers: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain, UAE), Abdul Majeed Waris (Spartak Moscow, Russia), Jordan Ayew (Marseille, France), Mahatma Otoo (Sogndal, Norway).

No doubt this best squad available to Kwesi Appiah but will they do enough to give us the advantage in the first leg?

Lets get talking! In the Black Stars we trust!

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Ghana Blackstars must overcome Egypt to reach Brazil 2014

Black Stars drawn against Pharaohs in World Cup Play-off

 

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The Black Stars now know they must overcome the Pharaohs of Egypt if they are to reach a third successive World Cup finals.  Egypt, the only side on the continent to have a 100% record in qualifying, were the one non-seeded team all the seeds would have hoped to avoid. However Ghana must do battle with them in a two legged play off in October and November to decide one of the five African finalists to go to Brazil next year.

The first legs of the ties will played between 11 and 15 October, with the return legs taking place between 15-19 November.Football’s world governing body Fifa has asked for the countries to nominate the day of the ties, venues and kick-offs by Friday.  Ghana will play at home in the first leg and away in the second.

Make no mistake this is a heavyweight clash between the two most successful countries in African nations history. Ghana may take heart confidence from the sides’ last meeting – a 3-0 win for the Black Stars in a friendly in Abu Dhabi in January. However in their last competitive match the Egyptians were victorious in the ACN final of 2010 a game which Asamoah Gyan, Kwadwo Asamaoh & Andre Ayew will remember well and be keen to avenge. Moreover the Pharaohs won all six of their Group G matches so Ghana will be expecting a tough game from the Egyptians in both legs who have one of the most promising African talents in their mist in the shape of Mohamed Salah a tricky winger who at only 21 years old has 17 goals for his country in 24 appearances. so the Ghanaian defence will have to be on their toes against him.

There is a lot of political unrest in Egypt so no guarantees the second leg game will be played in the national stadium in Cairo. If not  it means it  could be played in El Gouna, in a stadium that has an all-seated capacity of only 12,000. If so that will be less intimidating for Ghana and importantly less inspiring for the Egyptians particularly if they need to get a result. So It will be interesting to see whether the authorities sanction the use of the Cairo International Stadium, which has an all-seated capacity of 75,00, for what is likely to be a crucial second leg – and where home advantage could be key for Egypt.

Indeed the Black Stars chances may come down to what they can do in the first leg with home advantage. Ghana’s clash with Egypt is arguably the pick of African play-off ties of which the others are as follows;

 

  • Ivory Coast v Senegal
  • Ethiopia v Nigeria
  • Tunisia v Cameroon
  • Burkina Faso v Algeria

What do you think of the Black Stars chances? Lets get talking!

In the Black Stars we trust!

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

 

The Black Sheep return to the Black Stars

KPB joins the Ayew Brothers in confirming his return to the Ghana national team

 

Andre-Ayew-with-Kevin-Boateng-at-the-2010-World-Cup

 

Like three Black sheep returning to their shepherds flock, the Ayew brothers and now Kevin Prince Boateng have ended their hiatus from the Ghana national team by announcing they are ready to return. I don’t know how to feel about their return, logic tells me I should be pleased as they are three of our better players. Though on the other hand I must admit I felt some contempt about the way they came to their decisions to quit the team in the first place.

Kevin Prince Boateng last played for the Black Stars in October 2010 and “retired” just after a year later in November 2011. At the time he claimed his body could not cope with the demands of both international and club football. Many Ghanaians (including myself) saw this as a lame excuse and concluded he only used Ghana to play in the 2010 World Cup and secure a transfer from his then club Portsmouth, who had just been relegated from the premier league. However now it seems he has had a change of heart as GFA Chairman Kwesi Nyantekyi had announced that Boateng agreed to return to the Black Stars before Ghana’s against Sudan in June.

This has now been made official by Boateng himself in a letter stated; After a few consultations, I have decided to change my decision and confirm my availability to play for the Black Stars whenever I am needed,”. In response the GFA said it is delighted with Boateng’s decision to return claiming it will “surely re-energise the Black Stars for our future challenges

In the case of the Ayews, Andre claimed a breakdown in his relationship with Ghanaian FA left him with no option to quit. While his brother took exception to being dropped for the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa. In June they both announced they are returning to the team without any set conditions. They said after a meeting with the GFA in June; “We cannot play football with conditions. We play football with our heart. There are no conditions set to our comeback.

All three players may be in line to make their comebacks against Zambia in Kumasi next month should Kwesi Appiah include them in his squad.

The return of these players is ultimately good for Ghana as the Black Stars need their best players available to them if they are going to achieve success on the pitch. However these players should not assume they are going to walk straight into the team. They have to be picked first and it will be interesting to see particularly in the case of Ayew’s if Kwesi Appiah includes them in the squad for Zambia. During the Black Stars disappointing  CAN campaign in South Africa, two players to come away with any credit were Christian Atsu and Wakoso Mubarak. Both young exciting attacking wingers in the similar mould of Andre Ayew /Kevin Prince Boateng, will be of the view that they merit a place in the first team on current form.  Oh yes the return of the Ayews and KPB will provide a selection headache for Kwesi Appiah but I’m sure it’s a headache he would rather have before a vital game with Zambia.

So with three more “retired” players back in the fold, all we need now is for Michael Essien to return or do we? That’s another debate for another time…

 

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Ghana U20 Match report

Brave Black Satellites bow out of U20 World Cup

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After the heroics of last Sunday the Ghana could not scale the same heights against France in the U20 World cup. The Black Satellites went down 2-1 to Les Bluets in the Semi Final in Turkey. It means Ghana miss out on the chance of winning the Under-20 World Cup for the second
time in four years.

France had the better start to the game, crafting chances for Lucas Digne and Jean Christophe Bahebeck in the first five minutes but while the former managed to pull a save out of Ghanaian goalkeeper Ofori Antwi, Bahebeck saw his effort hit the side netting. France were dominating the game and crafted another opportunity but some good defending from  Princebell Addico saw the defender block Yaya Sanogo’s effort before Antwi showed some good reflexes to smother Sanogo’s rebound which look destined for the net. It was no surprise when France took the lead through Florian Thauvin. He opened the scoring late in the first half, dribbling past Ghana goalkeeper Eric Antwi and netting into the empty goal. France looked to take control of the game but could not add to their goal tally and the match ended 1-0 at half time.

After the break Ghana improved and Ebenezer Assifuah gave them some hope of winning , hitting an equaliser two minutes after the break which was his fifth goal of the tournament. Frank Acheampong and Michael Anaba then each managed to draw a save out of  Spanish keeper Alphonse Areola who showed great reflexes to get to Acheampong’s curling free kick.

However Thauvin found the net again for France with what proved to be the winner. He came in from the right and beat Antwi with a low shot at the near post in the 74th minute.

France were reduced to ten men after defender Samuel Umtiti was sent off for receiving a second booking ten minutes from time. He will now miss the final against Uruguay who beat Iraq in the other semi final.

Despite having to endure some late pressure from Ghana France held on for the victory .

It was not be for the Black Satellites this time round but they should take heart from good performances in the latter part of the tournament which ensured they reached the semi finals.  They will now play Iraq in the third place play-off on Saturday

Ghana U20 you did us proud!

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)