I am Ghana
I never let Africa down
Forget the scores. Fry FIFA. Freeze history. All because it is the first Friday in July 2010. The lesson of the day? History has two versions- the one which happened and the one which should have. And on the night Ghana lost to Uruguay in the 2010 World Cup, Africa at the threshold of the semi-finals is the living history.
The Jabulani flew up, grazed the post and went up, up and out with our dreams. A nation’s heart was cracked. No need for pretence. If you are reading this with hurt feelings I was writing with teary eyes. For once, during the tournament, Sultry Shakira’s ‘’Waka waka’’ did not sound sweet. As for K’naan’s ‘‘Waving Flag’’ chorus, nothing could be more jarring.
For us in Ghana, ‘’disappointment’’ is no longer an abstract noun but a physical pain that we have nursed since the dying seconds of a 120 minute-drama that saw a series of quick events drown our dreams. After the match, Coach Milovan’s theoretical ‘‘this is football’’ explanation would not heal a nation. We have to complete the therapy.
So let us let it out, folks. I need to throw a few things at who, I don’t care. Oh, yes, Africa. What a sorry place. Once again, an entire continent was looking for a hero in Ghana. Ghana must beat Uruguay. Ghana must go to the semifinals. Ghana must wipe Africa’s shame. Ghana must this, Ghana must that.
Why should it always be Ghana? Quick flashback: in the last World Cup, Ghana was also the only African country to have gone beyond the group stage. There are 53 countries. There were six of us at the tournament, including the host nation. What did South Africa do? Where was La Cote d’Ivoire? Which manner of men played for Nigeria? Who sent Algeria there? How could Cameroun stoop so low?
Why should it always be Ghana bailing out this continent? Well, I have got news for Africa. Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana need not reach the 2010 World Cup semifinals to become the hero. We have always been champions. It is ingrained in our genes. So don’t cry for me, Africa.
What a continent! When others lump us up we complain. We blame them for their ignorance and assert our respective sovereignties. Yet we are quick to cower together behind a single country when a whiff of glory is in the air. OK, so everyone knows Ghana pioneered Pan-Africanism. (‘‘I still know there is hope in the Black Stars’’ said a text message I received after the match from a friend in Barbados). But that does not excuse this African paradox.
What happened to our twinkle, twinkle little stars was that, on the field, they had to carry the burden of an entire continent on their young shoulders. How cruel. Suddenly, all sorts of bored and recycled African organisations found it opportunistic to tag into a Black Stars semifinal berth.
When they were playing Ghana, Uruguay was not doing it in the name of South America. Against Paraguay, Japan was not fighting for Asia. And when the Germany ‘’machine’’ was blitzkrieging Argentina 4-0 they were doing it for the sake of their Vaterland.
I suspect the ghosts of Kwame Nkrumah and Marcus Garvey would be hovering above me with reprimand. But even these two would understand that on this continent we are not the only stars. In fact, foxes, lions, eagles, and elephants have all paraded and trumpeted their virtues, n’est ce pas?
Can I break it down? If this continent must up its game and earn global respect, each country must up its individual game. Simple.
For all those who predicted that Ghana was going to win the World Cup, I doff my hat. You are prophets in your own right. After Uruguay, the Netherlands would have been our easiest conquest. Then at the finals even FIFA, would have their hearts pounding for us (if for nothing at all, for the ‘good of the game’). Something really happened on the way to Heaven, that Friday.
The Jabulani flew up, grazed the post and went up, up and out with our dreams. But it didn’t end there because this epic tragedy keeps coming back. It is the kind of scene that replays in your mental video.
It was the last kick of extra time. But leading to that so much had happened. The imminence of penalty kicks, a missed goal, a hand ball, a red card… All in the spate of a few seconds. Players and fans alike did not have time to take it all in. The Jabulani ball was shot up, at an angle meant for the roof of the net. It was all so familiar. The kicker, Asamoah Gyan had done it same way, successfully, before.
As the ball continued its trajectory, the goalkeeper was clearly beaten. In the background, a partisan crowd bleated, practically to shoo the ball in. We widen our eyes. The world stood still. At crunch time the ball refused to take the critical dip under the post. Wickedly, the Jabulani hit the bar and went up, 90 degrees. Before one could say ‘’vuvuzela’’, it was over.
Has anyone seen Asamoah Gyan lately? I saw him on TV dancing, though less energetically. When Gyan told the BBC, ‘‘I don’t think I am worried’’, many doubted it. Now, he appears to be handling it well. Still, let us keep him in our prayers. That boy is probably scarred for life.
Again, Africa is part of the reason. Had one or two other teams been in the reckoning the pressure would have been much less. In our eagerness to ’’rescue Mother Africa’’ we the Ghanaian people also played along. If we feel so much hurt it is because we were all caught up in that save-the- continent agenda. Now we are experiencing twice the pain.
In a sense, we are like the English. At each soccer tournament the Merry England folks gear themselves up big time. Fuelled by a pub culture and roared on by a loud press, they declare their own version of ‘‘Ke naako.’’ It is time for the Brits to show the world who invented the game. But too often, they have had to fold up the Union Jack too soon. Their lesson: it is one thing hosting a prestigious soccer league and another presenting an unbeatable national side.
For Ghana, the lesson to learn may be a bit more complicated. Self knowledge. In this very important international enterprise, self knowledge precedes all. It comes even before team strategy.
As a people, the ability to focus is part of our bane. This has been a weak point for our soccer players. Many of the factors that affect our team’s concentration during a tournament happen off the field. The point being made here is that managing the physical and psychological environment of our ‘’boys at war’’ is serious business. It involves understanding each player as well as assessing how emerging issues would impact the entire team.
We may have to re-examine the management of the environment of the team in camp. For instance, morale boosting is good. However, psychologist would tell you that when the stakes to perform become too high all the human body does is recoil naturally to its, neutral, ‘‘I am only human’’ mode.
Just for an example, our Venerable Nelson Mandela is larger than life. Could the Madiba’s invitation to party have been kept from the boys (as a pleasant surprise) until after the game? I cite this for a personal, if not shallow reason. If I, an eager writer, am informed just before writing an exam that I will be meeting Mandela, chances remain that I may, be bowled over with over-excitement.
Then there is the issue of how our boys psyche up before matches. Are we sure that the active drumming and the shi’ing of jama by players who have 90 minutes of physical engagement ahead of them is the best? It is on record that after Brazil had beaten Ghana 3-0 at the last World Cup, our opponents expressed shock at the fact that prior to the match our Black Stars spent excessive energy singing and praying.
By all standards the 2010 World Cup has been an unusual one with an unusual ball. The Jabulani seems to be the most talked about ball in World Cup history. The first time I heard the word, I couldn’t help but notice that it rhymed with ‘’Fulani.’’ However, more was yet to come. In terms of movement, the Jabulani is just like the Fulani cattle herd, unpredictable.
The ball has caught many a player off guard. In the game against Australia, Asamoah Gyan’s own kinsman, Kingson was dealt a treacherous blow, so was Keeper Rob Green of England and Faouzi Chaouchi of Algeria.
To coach Capello of Team England, the Jabulani is the worst ever to be used at a World Cup.
‘’I’ve seen that the ball arrives really fast and the players are having problems controlling it.’’
But not every player bears the Jabulani a grudge. Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech had some positive comments. He said the ball has good visibility due to the colour design plus it feels good to handle. English midfielder Frank Lampard also happens to be among the few players who are Jabulani-friendly.
In fairness, if the Big J was horrible it was horrible for all players. The Jabulani flew up, grazed the post and went up, up and out with our dreams…
July 7, 2010
Great Ways to Improve Your Blog
Blocks of flooding the Internet, which means that you need to make sure that you’re doing everything possible to stand out with yours. It can often feel like that no matter what you do, your blog is just never going to beat the competition. But the idea is you want to stand up and out, not necessarily be a constant winner.
You need your blog to be seen, and you need it to be seen consistently as well as interacted with by customers and potential clients. It’s always a good idea to make sure that you are improving your blog at all times so that you can do your very best to get your word out there. From Connecting with an SEO agency to speaking to other people in your field about boosting each other ‘s blogs. There is plenty that can be done to improve it. You could then generate more website visits, better quality leads, and higher conversion rates when you do.Here are some of the ways that you can improve your blog to make it better.
- Conduct some research. What do people want from your blog? The best people to ask are those who actually interact with your blog in the first place. Find out what it is that they want and then find out you’re trending keywords. You could then find out your audience interest and your competitor content. Putting all this together gives you the right amount of research to say that you have done all that is possible to make sure that your blog is improved.
- Get people to guest post. Having other brands in your industry write for your blog and then their personal knowledge and expertise is not competing but enhancing each other’s audiences. If you have somebody else in your industry who does what you do.Then you can get them to have authority on what they do on your blog and then gain their audience as well as yours. They might be a direct competitor to you, so don’t use the ones that are direct competitors.
- Focus on search engine optimization where possible. You want to ensure that everything that you do in your business has an SEO focus. It makes your content much easier to find on search engines and get in front of your audience if you are aware of your options with SEO. You can improve your readability, add metadata to your content and target different keywords to ensure that you are optimizing it as much as possible. Content is king, remember.
- Instant.If you are a poster who doesn’t post very often, then that might be your problem. You need to be more consistent with your posting so that you can get your blog out there for the world to see.
Improving your blog does take time and it’s vital that you work on it from the beginning. Boosting it will get your message and your brand out there for all to see.
British High Commission donates eight (8) ambulances to the Ghana Armed Forces as part of its annual Security Dialogue
Demonstrating bilateral collaboration and commitment to strengthening the UK-Ghana security partnership, the British High Commission has presented eight (8) ambulances to the Ghana Armed Forces to improve medical outreach in the Northern border regions.
The official handover ceremony which took place today at the Burma Camp in Accra is a testament of the strong security and defence ties the UK and Ghana share.
The event brought together the UK Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Rt. Hon. James Heappey, the Chief of the Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Seth Amoama from the Ghana Armed Forces, British High Commissioner, H.E. Harriet Thompson, representatives from the UK government and representatives from the Ghana Armed Forces, showcasing a collaborative effort to bolster peace and security in the Northern regions.
Ghana, like her neighbours appreciate the importance of civilian cooperation in the Northern regions as the Armed Forces work alongside Non-Governmental Organisations in the fight to prevent and limit violent extremist organisations. The ambulances provided are equipped with state-of-the-art technology to aid the Ghana Armed Forces in their medical outreaches in the five (5) Northern regions as part of the UK-Ghana Civilian Military Cooperation Programme.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, the UK Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Rt. Hon. James Heappey said:
“Ghana is a key partner for the UK, we work together to tackle shared challenges from violent extremism in the Sahel to maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea and this donation underscores the strong partnership between the UK and Ghana”.
“We are proud to contribute to Ghana Armed Force’s capacity to protect and serve its civilians in the 5 Northern regions to counter violent extremism, and we will continue to foster long-lasting partnerships through our annual security dialogue”.
The ambulances will be distributed in the Wa, Bolgatanga, Sandema Mechanical Brigade Headquarters and the Armoured Regimental Headquarters in Damango respectively.
The UK continues to work closely with the Ghana Armed Forces to support Ghana’s leadership position in the sub-region and to strengthen the capability of Ghanaian security services to take the lead in responding to instability in the region, particularly those related to that of violent extremists emanating from the Sahel.
Jumia appoints Temidayo Ojo as new Ghana CEO
Jumia, the leading e-commerce platform in Africa, has announced the appointment of Temidayo Ojo as Ghana’s new Chief Executive Officer. He takes over the leadership mantle from former CEO, Sunil Natraj who is taking up a new role as the CEO of Jumia Nigeria.
“I am honored and thrilled to take on the role of CEO at Jumia Ghana. Having been part of this
incredible journey at Jumia, I’ve witnessed firsthand the remarkable potential and unwavering dedication of our team. My commitment is steadfast—to steer Jumia Ghana towards continued growth, expanding our market reach, and ensuring that every customer experience is nothing short of exceptional. Our focus remains on innovation, seamless service delivery, and fostering strong partnerships that will elevate not only our platform but also the e-commerce landscape in Ghana,” said Temidayo Ojo upon his appointment.
Temidayo is an adept leader with over a decade of experience spanning project management,
commercial sales, and business strategy. He joined Jumia in 2020, as the Head of Planning and
Performance before moving on to become the Chief Commercial Officer in Ghana and has honed his expertise in crafting and executing transformative strategies within the e-commerce, retail, and consumer goods sectors. His career trajectory showcases a stellar journey—pioneering e-commerce strategies, optimizing financial performance, and spearheading large-scale commercial transformations.
Temidayo Ojo holds an MBA in Finance, Strategy & Consulting from IESE Business School, and a
Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics
Engineering from the University of Lagos.
He looks forward to fostering growth within Jumia’s operations in Ghana while collaborating closely with all stakeholders to ensure partner
development and consumer satisfaction as the company charts towards profitability
Seychelles, not just home of giant tortoises, rare fruits, and exotic beaches
Seychelles is home for many things, most especially the thousands of giant tortoises walking slowly across the archipelago and weighing up to 200 kg, as well as the the endemic Coco de Mer palm tree with its very special fruits, which is the symbol of the nation and most commonly found on the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Vallée de Mai” Island.
It also has colourful coral reefs, clown and trumpet fish, sea turtles and much more can be discovered while snorkelling and diving in the pristine blue waters of the country. The uniquely beautiful underwater world of Seychelles can equally be explored and experienced directly from the many great beaches that surround the archipelago nation.
For travelers and tourists dreaming of white, deserted sandy beaches, round granite rocks and turquoise blue water they are guaranteed to find what they are looking for in Seychelles. The beaches of Seychelles are uniquely beautiful and it could give the satisfaction that the traveler is on a desert island of their own.
Indeed, Seychelles is a haven for people seeking to hike around the hills and enjoy the cool and calm waters of the Indian ocean and a warm sunny tropical weather off the African continent.
However, Seychelles is not only about giant tortoises, the sea, turquoise blue pristine waters, sandy and rocky beaches, and beautiful coral reefs below the waters, it is a place to get lost in the culture and essence of the 100,000 or so people on this beautiful island nation.
As 65 tourism trade and media partners from around the world hosted by Seychelles’ tourism board would find out, there is more to Seychelles than the sea and beaches. It is a nation of many cultures exuded through a warm and welcoming populace providing different experiences for the visitor.
This was emphasized by Sherin Francis, Principal Secretary of Tourism Seychelles when she led a team of officials from Tourism Seychelles to welcome the 65 guests to the archipelago nation for a three-day Mega Familiarization Trip.
“For those of you who have been here seven years, I know somebody who just told me seven years ago he was here, probably you did not get to experience this. But today, with, focus on product diversification, having more cultural experiences, we have also, encouraging our visitors to make time to discover more of the Seychellois culture,” she said.
“The gastronomy, arts, dance, crafts, artisan, all this today are on offer, and you are able to experience and immerse yourself in more cultural experiences, activities, entertainment in general.”
Highlighting on the range of accommodation offering, the Principal Secretary said, ‘’You would know we have a wide range of accommodation in Seychelles. We have beautiful resorts like this one, the Constance Ephelia, but we also have homegrown properties, self-catering apartments and guest said houses. We want them to provide exceptional services, we want their products to be of higher standards, so that they can attract better kinds of visitors that will benefit the whole destination at the end of the day.
She said the kind of visitors Seychelles is targeting to attract are those that would give high value, such as visitors who “will want to go out and discover, and go out and do an excursion, go to a hiking, experience a cultural product, living more than just, the waste that it would probably produce like we all do when we travel and also lower impact.’’
Dubbed the “Mega Familiarization Trip”, the inaugural hosting by the department responsible for tourism in Seychelles, Tourism Seychelles, invited these trade and media partners from over 15 markets from all six continents and hosted them from 29th November to 2nd December 2023.
On his part, the Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Loius Sylvester Radegonde Said they would have to diversify their tourism products to entice tourists from new source markets to visit Seychelles.
“Over here we need to continue to diversify the range of products we have, continue to raise our level of services, continue to give that value for money. So basically, that’s going to continue to be the work for next year,” the Minister said.
Minister Radegonde said this during an interview with the media at a special Creole Rendezvous night at the Cap Lazare Nature Reserve at Mahe during the hosting of 65 trade and media partners to a familiarization tour of Seychelles.
Mr. Radegonde also noted that his ministry and the tourism board need to work on the perception that Seychelles is an expensive destination. “We need to work on the perception that people have of Seychelles out there. When you talk to somebody, they perceive Seychelles to be a 5-star destination beyond the needs of the ordinary person, it is not true, he said. “We have a range of accommodation, 5-star plus, but also small guest houses which we are pushing.” He said there are over 700 of these small hotels and guest houses across the archipelago.
“This has been my focus since I was appointed 3 years ago. Since my appointment, I have visited over 300 of these small hotels because I want to see what the challenges are, see how we can improve. It is not for them to compete with the 5-star hotels, absolutely not, because they offer a different category of services and we want them to benefit from the tourism industry,” he noted.
The meticulously curated itinerary for the hosting was designed to enhance every moment of their journey across the 115-island archipelago nation. This includes a three-night stay at the 5-star Constance Ephelia Resort, experience on Silhouette Island by Hilton Labriz, rum tasting, snorkeling, fishing, boat rides, sundowners, heritage experience at Mission Lodge, city tour of Victoria, market experience at Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market, lunch experience at Marie Antoinette and a special Creole Rendezvous night at Cap Lazare Nature Reserve.
“The primary goal of this marketing endeavour is to provide travel agencies with firsthand experiences and comprehensive information about our destination, enabling them to more effectively market and promote it to their clients,” said Bernadette Willemin, Director General of Destination Marketing at Tourism Seychelles.
She added at the official welcome event at the Cyann Restaurant at the Constance Ephelia Resort at Mahe that “this familiarization trip is intended to showcase aspects of intellectual discoveries, cultural discoveries, which our destination has to offer. It is not just a trip. It is an immersive experience designed to deepen your understanding of our unique offerings.”
Tourism Seychelles spared no expense to give its guests the most wonderful experience as it hosted them to some of the best things the nation has on offer from accommodation, to tour packages, gastronomy, drinks and beverages and local Seychellois cultural experiences. Thus, while it provided an opportunity for networking by the guests, the Fam Trip also showcased the breathtaking beauty and sleuth of attractions that Seychelles has to offer those who wish to visit.
The Mega Fam Trip hosting got substantial backing from local partners, such as Constance Hotels & Resorts, Constance Ephelia Resorts, Hilton Seychelles, and Laïla, Seychelles, Creole Travel Services, Masons Travels, 7 Degree South, Summer Rain Tours among others.
These concerted efforts to build partnerships with travel agencies and media outlets within and outside reflects Seychelles’ comprehensive approach to destination marketing. The success of this hosting and other initiatives would help Seychelles’ ambition to position itself prominently among the world’s premier island destinations aiming at attracting high value visitors to boost their tourism drive.
Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa. It’s home to numerous beaches, coral reefs and nature reserves, as well as rare animals such as giant Aldabra tortoises. Mahé, a hub for visiting the other islands, it is home to capital Victoria. It also has the mountain rainforests of Morne Seychellois National Park and beaches, including Beau Vallon and Anse Takamaka.
Tourism is the topmost contributor to the economy of Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean.
According to the World Bank, Seychelles has a population of 107,000 inhabitants, three-quarters of whom live on the main island of Mahé and it has the highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in Africa, at $ 15.8 billion (2022). Its economy is highly dependent on tourism and fisheries.
The Mega Fam Trip had representatives selected from 46 travel agencies and 19 press partners across the world. The participants came from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, Scandinavia, the Americas, the Middle East, China, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, and countries from the Indian Ocean, and Africa.
By Francis Doku
Shopping For Emerald, Asscher, And Marquise Cut Diamonds Online
One question that can stump customers searching for diamonds online regards the cut. While round-cut diamonds are timeless, there are lots of other options. Emerald, Asscher, and Marquise diamonds all look great in diamond rings. But it helps to know the difference and what to look out for when choosing the best.
Anyone looking to shop Emerald cut diamonds needs to be sure they aren’t actually after the sparkler Asscher cut. There is also the option to shop Marquise cut diamonds online for a whole other look, but what color and what kind of diamond?
Emerald Cut Diamonds for Boldness and Clarity
Emerald-cut diamonds make a big statement, especially when designing an engagement ring. These stones are characterized by their simple lines and clean look, with a strong rectangular shape. Often designers use the stone on its own on a thin band for enhanced visual impact.
When choosing the best marketplace to Shop Emerald cut diamonds online, it pays for consumers to consider the clarity of the stone. There is a broad scale from included to flawless diamonds. I1 toI3 included diamonds will look too blemished for this cut. A VVS1 or VVS2 stone with imperceptible inclusions is much better. There are flawless diamonds at the high end of the scale, but they look much like the VVS1 stones to the naked eye.
Asscher Cut Diamonds for Extra Sparkle
There are similarities between the Asscher and Emerald cut diamonds because of their angular shape. However, buyers appreciate the Asscher cut for the step-cut design that allows for extra sparkle on an engagement ring. Search and buy Asscher cut diamonds online will shine brilliantly from any angle. Still, consumers need to be sure of getting something with the right color to enhance the look.
As with clarity, there is another scale for color. Anything from D-F is colorless while S-Z has a light color. This could be a yellow or cooler tone. While some feel that colored diamonds are a sign of poor quality, that isn’t the case at all. It is possible to find highly-valuable stones in a range of tones. The unique nature of the gem also allows for interesting personalized jewelry.
Marquise Cut Diamonds for Elegance and Quality
Then there are sleek oval-shaped Marquise diamonds for a completely different effect. This a great when couples want an eye-catching feminine stone that isn’t a typical round diamond. This is another way to ensure maximum sparkle.
Another consideration when Shop Marquise Cut Diamonds online is whether or not to go for lab-grown or natural diamonds. Natural diamonds are great for those that want the inclusions and fluorescence that you can get with mined stones. It gives them character and can look great on those quirky marquise diamonds. However, there are ethical considerations with mined stones.
The alternative is to go for a more conscientious choice with a lab-grown diamond. Creators simulate natural conditions with no need to exploit the earth or miners. These stones are often much clearer and colorless, which makes them great for those clean-cut emerald diamonds.
Buying Quality Diamonds with Ease from Rare Carat
With so many factors to consider when buying these different diamonds online, it helps to turn to a trusted online marketplace. Rare Carat makes the process really easy for customers with a step-by-step approach. After choosing the desired cut, users can then use the sliders to determine the ideal carat, clarity, and color.
This means the option of a VVS emerald diamond with a D-F color, or maybe a cheaper I3 S-Z marquise for something more unique. The customization options are broad and user-friendly enough that all customers should find what they are looking for. On top of this, all diamonds sold by Rare Carat are GIA-certified based on the 4Cs of diamond quality. The company works with trusted unbiased gemologists to help provide the best quality gems while expertly matching stones to buyers’ preferences. This includes both mined and lab-grown diamonds.
This level of commitment and transparency, in addition to their range of stones and user-friendly platform, counts for consumers. It is why Rare Carat has a 4.9/5 Trustpilot score and is America’s #1 source for diamonds.
Photos: 4th Ghana Giving Summit held in Accra
The fourth Ghana Giving Summit has been held in Accra where leaders of civil society organizations (CSOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have underscored the absence of a dedicated policy framework on philanthropy in Ghana. (more…)