Tag: 2014 World Cup


Meet the Ghana World Cup Squad 2014: Introducing Asamoah Gyan

Captain Fantastic!

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Asamoah Gyan is known the world over as the man who missed the crucial penalty against Uruguay in 2010 World Cup quarter final in South Africa. He is also allegedly the man who needs 5 chances to score a goal and he is the man who briefly “retired” from international football. However He is the captain, the talisman and Ghana’s chief goal threat. Say what you want about him but his record speaks for itself. He is the man whose goals fired Ghana to the quarter final in the first place. He is also Ghana’s all time leading goal scorer (last scoring against Germany at 2014 World Cup) and the first African to score in three consecutive World Cups. Yes three!

Gyan is a dynamic powerful striker who some may argue has not yet fully reached his potential..

Having signed for Udinese in 2003 from Ghanaian club Liberty Professionals located in Accra, Gyan spent two years on loan at Serie B club Modena to gain match experience. Following some excellent displays during the 2006 World Cup, he attracted interest from Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow. Gyan returned to Udinese at the start of 2006, but in February 2007, Udinese pulled out of a deal to sell him in the January transfer window. The striker was on the verge of signing a 3-year deal with Lokomotiv Moscow for US$10.5 million, which would have been the fourth largest transfer fee in Russian football.

In August 2007 Gyan signed an improved 5-year contract extension to stay at Udinese until 30 June 2012 as a reward for his fine form.He remained there for just over a year then in July 2008, Gyan was signed by French Ligue 1 Club Stade Rennais , Gyan played 48 times for Rennes, scoring 14 goals. By the end of his stay at Rennes, he became a well known goal scoring figure, scoring 13 league goals in the 2009–10 season. However, Gyan only played three games in Ligue 1 the following season, taking his total appearances to 53, before he departed for Sunderland

After the 2010 World Cup, Gyan signed for Premier League club Sunderland on a four-year deal for record £13 million.. He scored on his Sunderland debut against Wigan Athletic after coming on as a substitute for Danny Welbeck. He finished his first season in English football with 10 league goals. Gyan took the squad number 3 shirt for the 2011–12 season, the same squad number he wears for Ghana. However in September 2011  went on a season long loan at UAE club Al Ain . He later signed a permanent five-year contract with the club on 6 July 2012 worth over £6m per season. He was the top goalscorer in the UAE league in the 2013 season and helped his team retain the league title.

Gyan made his debut for Ghana at the tender age of just 17 scoring on his debut against Somalia in 2003. He was included in the 2006 World Cup Squad and scored the fastest goal of that tournament against the Czech Republic. Along with Sulley Muntari he is the only player to have been selected in all three World Cup squads. He has made 80 appearances for Ghana scoring 41 goals.

If Ghana are now to make it to the second round of the World Cup he will surely have a crucial role to play.

Asamoah Gyan, Me Firi Ghana salutes you!

LetsGoalGhana!

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

#LetsGoalG​hana: Disappoint​ment / Inspiratio​n / Hope / Belief

Confession: I just couldn’t do it

I couldn’t bring myself to write after our defeat against USA, amidst the feel-good motivation of Me Firi Ghana’s already exceptionally-successful #LetsGoalGhana campaign. Any spill from my downtrodden dreams and bruised emotions would have been profusely negative and contrary to the Let’s Goal Ghana message.

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You see, like most I was disappointed.

Disappointed in what I thought was a team selection which was arrogant and disrespectful to the USA team in equal measure.

Disappointed in finding our foundation of defensive discipline blown away in seconds – both from kick-off, and from the restart of the match after we had gotten back into the game.

Disappointed that we had seemingly gone from being seconds away from becoming the first African nation to enter the World Cup semi-finals, to potentially being on the plane back to Kotoka after only our second game.

Disappointed in wrong decisions being made during a game where the USA were there for the taking – wrong passes, wrong runs, wrong shots. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

And after watching Germany, World Cup specialists, dismantle Portugal effortlessly…well, things looked very ominous for us…

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In disappointment, one tends to seek inspiration. And my inspiration was found in the neck of the official Ghana football kit. Embroidered on it is the following message: ‘Stars represent hopes, dreams, legends. This shirt earned its stars with strength and courage. It’s stitched with the pride of Ghanaians everywhere. It’s built on the belief that anything can happen. Believing is in our nature.’ Inspiration. Inspiration triggered hope, and fuelled the inherent belief woven into the shirt.

The belief that anything can happen.

Post-USA game, #LetsGoalGhana underwent metamorphosis. It became a rallying call, picking up the crestfallen and reminding them that anything is possible! Reminding the despondent that believing is in our nature! That we earned the stars on our shirt with ‘strength and courage’ – and if we applied those traits to this game, who knows what we could achieve? That regardless of how things looked, it was not over!

Optimism amongst Ghana supporters blossomed as we watched reigning champions Spain, former masters of football, get taught a footballing lesson by Chile.Optimism grew when we watched Costa Rica, anointed the doormat of their group, qualify ahead of England, Italy and Uruguay. And just before our time underneath the World Cup lights presented itself again, we almost, almost, saw lowly Iran put the mighty Argentina to the sword. This was fast becoming a World Cup where anything was possible.

So we too had right to believe anything was possible when we finally took on Germany. Just as we had believed anything was possible when we were first drawn into the group of death. Disappointment. Found inspiration. Triggered hope. Fuelled belief.

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Where onlookers expected Ghana to arrive humbler, the Ghana team still entered the stadium as they always do: brave, loud, triumphant! They didn’t shy away from the monumental job at hand, to keep the German machine at bay. They didn’t quieten down their faith in fear of dashed hopes and the possibility of missed dreams. They came prepared to lay it all on the line.

And so it proved. Ghana crackled with attacking verve and creative class. The defence looked stronger, more purposeful. Germany thought they were meeting a team willing to roll-over and die, accepting the fate that most had already written in the stars for them. But they didn’t prepare themselves for Black Stars hungry to shine brighter than ever on the footballing world’s grandest stage. Disappointment. Found inspiration. Triggered hope. Fuelled belief.

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The pale imitators of the team we know and love had not made their way to the stadium this time. The real Ghana finally showed up on Saturday. In front of a viewing population of millions worldwide, the great entertainers of the World Cup turned up. And we gave the Germans a game. We gave them the shock of their lives. Where last tournament we granted them three points, this time we shared the spoils with one of the World’s best.

Following the draw, social media timelines effervesced with plaudits, praise & pride. Profile pictures proudly dripping in red, gold and green hue. Finally, we had arrived. The Ghana team, just like myself and the hopes of many of Ghana’s supporters, needed to get lost for a while before it was able to find itself again.

Now, as the dust settles in Fortaleza (after we produced what many are proclaiming to be the best match of the tournament so far) instead of disappointment in defeat, you have Ghanaians disappointed that we didn’t beat a team with legitimate claims to win the World Cup this year! Can you imagine? Our story has changed. Our objectives have shifted. Disappointment. Found inspiration. Triggered hope. Fuelled belief.

One more chapter of this group remains – let’s see how we write it. Be grateful, however, that in a game where most people didn’t give us a chance, and many Ghanaians had come to with little hope, our Black Stars have managed to give us our Licence to Dream again. For our third and final game in this Group of Death, let’s finish the job. Let’s shock the world again.

Let’s Goal Ghana!

Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

An Epistle Poem for Our fellow Black Stars…..

Dear Black Stars

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Dear Black Stars,

From our hearts to yours,

We say to you:

Have no fear brothers.

We believe in you !

 

There’s a reason why there is a star in the middle of the Ghana flag.

The star is a reminder of who you are.

You have a purpose. You are chosen !

You are black stars, set apart to reign !

 

Dear Black Stars,

Use your identity to score like stars, attack like stars and defend like stars.

Heaven is behind you and I hear applause.

I hear multitudes of people rejoicing over you.

Brazil world cup 2014, we are ready for you.

Warriors by nature, we won’t back down without a fight !

Viva Black Stars ! Make us proud

 

Adwoa Asideu (@AdwoaAsiedu777)

Let’s Goal Ghana!: Butterflies In Our Stomachs, Black Star Across Our Chests

After four years, our chance at redemption arrives – It’s Game Time

The FIFA World Cup…Arguably the most popular sporting event in the world.

Mesmeric. Monumental.
The one moment, every four years, where the Beautiful Game cloaks the entire planet in its glory.

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The time when family members and friends who don’t follow the bread-and-butter domestic leagues morph into die-hard supporters; people who scream loudest amongst us in fervent support of their nation, the footballing disease to linger in their systems for a few weeks and rage in their veins before dissapating slowly away to allow them to recover to normality.

For those countries whose national teams have been mainstays of the tournament – the Germanys, the Argentinas, the Brazils of this world – a place in the World Cup has become a birthright, a claim to greatness, a given in the sporting calendar every four years. Almost taken for granted (which, by the way, doesn’t numb or dull the ferocity of their support in any way).

For Ghana, such has been our impact that people forget that this is only our third World Cup.

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The first World Cup, we were all dizzy and light-headed at being present at our first World Cup – a long-denied privilege finally come to reality. We were just happy to be there, and we enjoyed the ride.

The second World Cup? We came back more disciplined. More focused on showing ourselves as not a novelty act, but a force to be reckoned with. By the time we reached the Quarter-Finals, nobody wanted to meet Ghana. We were feared. During the Quarter-Finals, the substance of our play under the South African moon led many to begin to ponder seriously that this Ghana team may be fated at the first African World Cup for a greatness no other African team had yet realised – a place in the World Cup semi-finals.

Let’s not talk about the conclusion to that particular chapter just yet – this is supposed to be a rousing, positive piece…

This World Cup?
Ghana arrives wiser. A conglomerate of experienced heads and effervescent youth. However, Ghana in the world’s eyes has a big problem. The group Ghana found itself in is undoubtedly a horror group, of an extremely intense difficulty.

There can’t be many amongst us who didn’t feel the air punched out of their stomachs when that group was finalised.

There can’t be many who first considered the prospect of a United States team hell bent on revenge, a Germany team as solid and efficient and powerful as any other, and a Portugal team which is home to the best (and arguably, in my opinion, most complete) footballer in the world – and felt good.

But then despair turned to pride, before beginning to turn to defiance.
Because as many of us began to slowly acknowledge, if any African team can get out of such a group, Ghana can.

We’ve done it twice before. We’ll do it again.

And that’s why our social media timelines have lit up in a blaze of red, gold and green. Faces have been painted. Songs have been written. Prominent figures in our community and the everyday Ghanaian have merged subtly into one massive body of support. Regardless of our talent, our natural place in the world, whether it be media, or fashion, or the arts – we are all converging under the three-tiered umbrella that the Big Six built in 1957. Time and energy has been spent building campaigns such as our own Let’s Goal Ghana campaign – not as gallows humour, for a team which is destined for abject failure, but as a rallying war cry for a nation which is confident it will shock the world again!

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2014. Our third World Cup. Ghana come prepared. Ghana come ready. We’ve never come to a World Cup willing to lay down and die for anybody. We’ve always come with intent, to give our best and give our all. Yes, like all great families, we have our issues. We’ve had our complaints over the years. Blood has threatened to turn bad, and relationships have threatened to turn sour. But as the World Cup commences, all of that has disappated – we have built bridges, forgiven, recovered from our most dejecting moment to stand taller and stronger than before. Now, we unite, with one common purpose. One common goal. To wave our great flag high and proud for the world to see. And to make the world fall in love with us once more with our flair and creativity.

The Brazil of Africa is hellbent on putting on a show and righting some wrongs. However, win lose or draw – our third World Cup is going to be one hell of a ride. So sit back, with your white jersey, your ice-cold supermalt in hand, butterflies in your stomach and black star across your chest – and enjoy the show.

It’s Our Time.

Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

Meet the Ghana World Cup Squad 2014: Introducing Kevin Prince Boateng…

The Gifted One

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Kevin Prince Boateng is a charismatic player who divides opinion amongst are Ghanaian fans. There are some who question his commitment to the cause and suggest he only shows up when there is a World Cup to be played given his acrimonious retirement in November 2011 where he citing fatigue from travel as the reason behind his decision. However just under a year later he was too return , was welcomed with open arms and he maintains he is now here to stay.

There is no doubt his return however timely or coincidental some suggest, is a huge boost to Ghana. An attacking midfielder by trade Boateng has been used in several positions across the forward line. He is known for his intense dynamism; physical strength, extreme aggression, endurance, immense work rate acrobatics, foot speed, and ball-juggling tricks. He is a gifted player capable of doing the unexpected that gives Ghana another option going forward.

Boateng started his career with the club Reinickendorfer Füchseoateng in Germany . He then signed for Hertha BSC in the Bundesliga in July 1994. In 2006 he was nominated as one of the best youth players in Germany. Boateng left the Bundesliga in 2007 to play in the Premier League first  Tottenham Hotspur and later for Portsmouth FC where he won a League cup and played the final of the FA Cup in 2010. He later moved to Genoa CFC and then AC Milan in Serie A, in 2011 where he remained until 2013 when he went back to Germany to signe for FC Schalke of the Bundesliga.

Boateng has eleven caps and two goals for the Ghana , and was among the ten players nominated for African Footballer of the Year in 2010 and 2011. In May 2010, Boateng announced that, as he was yet to receive his first senior cap for Germany and confirmed, he had accepted an offer from the GFA to play for Ghana. Boateng held his first training session with his team Black Stars in Ghana, prior the 2010 FIFA World Cup in May 2010. He was later cleared to play for Ghana by FIFA, and made his debut in a 1–0 victory over Latvia in June 2010.

He was one of the Ghana’s star players at World Cup 2010 in South Africa. His highlight coming in the second round against the USA where he opened the scoring with a powerful drive from long range. Though he received a huge backlash for his initial retirement, he is the backing of the majority and remains a vital part of Kwesi Appiah’s squad.

Kevin Prince Boateng, Me Firi Ghana salutes you!

#LetsGoalGhana

Check out this amazing goal from Boateng whilst playing for Milan against Barcelona in the Champions League.

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Ghana Black Stars; “Nana Nyam3 ne kura y3n”

So I am not an expert when it comes to football… and I probably only ever watch football when the Ghana Black Stars are playing so that’ll be mostly during the African Cup of Nations or when the World Cup is on- but TRUST me whenever the Black Stars are on the field I become an instant expert on all things related to football! In fact I become a self-proclaimed coach and referee at the same time! It’s all part of the excitement!

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It’s been 4 years since ‘SUALEZ’… I need not say anymore! Some of us have moved on and some will forever curse the day ‘SUALEZ’ decided to do some stretching ‘INSIDE DE GOAL’ in the final minutes of a heated semi-final! Hmm… and all you people out there who criticised Baby Jet, please go and volunteer to take the next penalty shot wai, after you have run around the field for 100 minutes! As I said earlier I don’t know very much about football but when people say things like ‘ahhh chale akoa w3i dy3 wonim ball bo kura oo, mon schw3 ne nai’, whilst they are chopping banku and fufuo with supermalt on the side I get irritated! I’m just saying!2014fifaworldcupbrazil_-Group-G-Germany-Ghana-Portugal-USA

Anyway… it’s 2014 and we’re back in the game taking on the world in BRAZIL – Group G… please let us all bow our heads in prayer; psalm 23:4 says ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.’

Despite the fact that we have been placed in a very tough group, there’s hope my fellow Ghanaians, there is hope! The team spirit of the Black Stars alone is very encouraging and commendable. Watching videos of the boys singing and dancing before games is incredibly infectious and each time I join it ends up in a full-blown praise and worship session! NOW tell me which other team do you know of that can create such an atmosphere huh?!

With music playing a key role a number of Brazil 2014 campaign songs have recently been released in support of our Black Stars and one of my current favorites is titled Ghana Black Stars by Castro feat. Kofi Kinaata, check it out ya’ll! This track is on fire- it is very upbeat and brings together familiar tunes from recent hit singles such as ‘Adonai‘ and ‘Odo pa’.

Make sure you have all your gear in check; jerseys, flags and if you haven’t its not too late- go to Kumasi Market!!! Let’s all join in and continue to support our Ghana Black Stars with full ‘VIM’#LetsGoalGhana.

Nora Mistersky (@Ms_Nora_M)

Meet the Ghana World Cup Squad 2014: Introducing Michael Essien…

The Bison

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When Michael Esseine takes to the field in Brazil for his second World Cup some may argue he is has a point to prove. Once considered one of the finest midfielders in the world there are many who say he is not the force he once was. Not to mention he was not among the Ghana World Cup squad in 2010 due to injury so missed out on the teams epic run to the quarter finals. The fact remains though that he is one of Ghana’s best and most experience players. He has enjoyed a career that a lot of players from the African continent can only dream of.

At his very best though he is a box-to-box midfielder with the ability to exert energy in supporting offensive and defensive play and for his tough tackling style which has earned him the nickname “The Bison”.Essien can also play as a defender, both on the right of defence and in the centre.

Essien began his career playing for Liberty Professionals in Ghana. In 2000, he moved to France joining Bastia. Essien spent three seasons at the club appearing in over 60 matches before joining league champions Olympique Lyonnais in 2003. At Lyon, Essien won back-to-back league titles between 2003-2005 and also played in the UEFA Champions League for the first time. In 2005, Essien signed for Chelsea for a fee of £24.4 million and, at the time of his signing, was the most expensive African footballer in history, but he remains Ghana’s most expensive footballer ever! At Chelsea, Essien helped the club win the Premier League twice, as well as three FA Cups and one Football League Cup. He later signed a season-long loan deal with Real Madrid in 2012, linking him up with José Mourinho, the manager who signed him for Chelsea. Once the loan spell ended he returned to Chelsea but later joined AC Milan in a permanent deal at the beginning of the year.

Essien is a seasoned Ghanaian international. At youth level, he represented his country at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship and 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship with the latter team finishing as runner-up. Essien made his senior team debut in January 2002 and has represented his nation at three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and the 2006 FIFA World Cup, where Ghana reached the Round of 16. He has racked up over 50 caps for Ghana since 2002 and has captained the side several times over that period.

Ghana will need Essien at his best in Brazil. The Bison can certainly bite back!

Michael Essien, Me Firi Ghana salutes you!

#LetsGoalGhana

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

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)