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Guest Blog: Black Stars: The Star of Africa



Black Stars players will train in Accra on Saturday afternoonA world Cup qualification would have been a well-received present by mother Ghana on the occasion of her 60th birthday celebration. 60 years ago, led by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana broke free from the yoke of the colonialism, becoming the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to attain its independence. This gesture by the senior national soccer team, The Black Stars, should have been one selflessly achieved for mother Ghana on her 60th Independence anniversary. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah held high hopes in the belief that football was to be a vehicle for the realization of his ambition, one he would die for, to ensure African Unity. The following is an extract from the unpublished autobiography of Ghanaian football legend Charles Kumi ‘C.K’ Gyamfi. He gives an unblemished account of the impact Ghana’s founder and first President, Kwame Nkrumah, had on the national team, Black Stars. “When he spoke, his voice was stone-cold. He conveyed a business-like mood too, his face still straight, missing his usual smile. Then, he showed us a graph with detailed records of our performances, pointing out with concern that we were on a downward curve. ‘Your standards are falling, you are losing matches,’ he said, a statement shot through with crystal clarity. Then, he turned to me. He took out a piece of paper and wrote down a number. “Call me personally if you need anything you are not getting”, he said. “It means a lot to me that we’ve entrusted our football fortunes in your hands.” The Black Stars have been vigorously reproached for their abysmal display of nationalism following their misconduct at the last World Cup in 2014 hosted by Brazil; an event which has dwindled massively, the love shown to them over the years. Lying third place on the table in Group E of the Africa World Cup Qualifier, the Black Stars failed to book a place in Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup; alongside in the group were Congo, Egypt and Uganda. The Black Stars bagged 7 points from 6 games with no home win; an embarrassing performance by the senior national soccer team of the land. I remember the excitement and emotions which embraced the news of Ghana’s qualification to the World Cup which was to take place in Germany. The Black Stars sent Ghana to her first appearance at the world’s largest football scene, the World Cup, in 2006.A performance that heavily stunned the world was witnessed; thereby announcing the presence of the Stars of Africa, Ghana Black Stars, onto the global stage of the tournament. The Black Stars were welcomed into the tournament with a 2-0 defeat to ultimate winners Italy, but victories over Czech Republic (2-0) and the United States of America (2-1) saw them progress to the second round, where fate inconsiderably served us with an encounter with Brazil, who handed down a 3-0 defeat to the Black Stars ensuring our “proud” exit. The Black Stars went on to record an excellent qualification crusade to make it to the 2010 World Cup, for the first time on the African soil, in South Africa. The team competed in Group D with Austria, Germany and Serbia. Ghana became the third African country after Cameroon (1990) and Senegal (2002) to reach the World Cup quarter-finals. Ghana’s historic feat of becoming the first African country to reach the Semi-finals of the glorious World Cup was unwritten when “bitter-sweet” captain of the Stars, Asamoah ‘Baby Jet’ Gyan, missed a penalty kick in extra- time against Uruguay, when a certain goal was prevented by Luiz Suarez. In 2014, Ghana was drawn in Group G where they faced Germany, Portugal and the United States. It was a rather disappointing campaign by Ghana at the World Cup; one to be matched with neither of the two preceding campaigns. A disgracing exit from the tournament with reports of poor planning and agitations over payment of bonuses although they held the winners, Germany, to a 2-2 draw. The Black Stars have fallen in the race to represent Ghana at the World Cup to be held in Russia next year for a fourth consecutive time. There have been public outcries over the woes of the nation’s senior national team, with some attributing it to the incompetence of the “returned one”, James Kwasi Appiah;head coach of the Black Stars. The highest football governing body of the land, Ghana Football Association, has not been left out of the chastisement, been continuously lambasted over undisciplined expenditures. Ghana’s inability to make it to Russia 2018 has been met with an almost unanimous excitement by Ghanaians as they vehemently express displeasure over undue advantages enjoyed by “unproductive” people; players and staff alike. A qualification to the World Cup would have been befitting to the memory of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President and Africa’s first Prime Minister, as Ghana celebrates her 60th Independence anniversary this year. Kwame Nkrumah helped build a formidable Black Stars which witnessed them win the African Cup of Nations on two occasions in 1963 and 1965. We salute the efforts of the Black Stars. Wishing them better luck next time! Adjei-Gyamfi Yaw.]]>


People & Lifestyle

Is a Free VPN Safe to Use? Exploring the Risks and Benefits



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In our current digital age, online privacy and security have become an importantt concerns for internet users around the world. With the increasing prevalence of cyber threats and data breaches, people are actively seeking ways to protect their online activities. Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, have gained popularity as tools that promise safeguarding your digital footprint. While there are many VPN options available, free VPNs, in particular, have garnered significant attention due to their accessibility. In this article, we will explore the risks and benefits of using a free VPN, with a focus on free VPN for Windows.

Understanding VPNs: What Are They?

Before delving into the world of free VPNs, let’s understand what a VPN is and how it works. A VPN is essentially a service that establishes a secure, encrypted connection between your device (in this case, your Windows PC) and a remote server. This connection masks your IP address and encrypts your internet traffic, making it difficult for third parties, such as hackers or government agencies, to monitor your online activities.

The Benefits of Using a Free VPN

Enhanced Privacy: One of the primary advantages of using a free VPN is the boost in online privacy. Your internet service provider (ISP), websites, and even potential cybercriminals won’t be able to track your online behavior when you’re connected to a VPN.


Bypassing Geo-Restrictions: Free VPNs often allow users to access geo-restricted content. For example, if a streaming platform or website is only accessible in certain regions, a VPN can make it appear as though you’re browsing from an eligible location.

Protection on Public Wi-Fi: When you connect to public Wi-Fi networks, your data becomes vulnerable to interception. A free VPN can add an extra layer of security when you’re using unsecured public Wi-Fi at cafes, airports, or hotels.

The Risks Associated with Free VPNs

Data Logging: Many free VPN providers track and log user data. This can include your online activities, websites visited, and even personal information. This data may then be sold to third parties or used for targeted advertising.

Inadequate Security Measures: Some free VPNs might not implement robust encryption protocols, leaving your data vulnerable to breaches or leaks.


Limited Features: Free VPNs often come with limitations, such as slower connection speeds, data caps, and fewer server locations. These restrictions can hinder your online experience.

Malware and Adware: Some free VPN services have been found to include malware or adware in their software, potentially infecting your device.

Uncertain Jurisdiction: Free VPN providers can be based in countries with lax data privacy laws, which means they may not be obligated to protect your data.


Choosing the Right Free VPN for Windows

If you decide to use a free VPN for your Windows device, it’s essential to exercise caution and select a reputable service. Here are some simple tips for selecting the right one:


Read Reviews: Research and read user reviews and expert opinions to find out which free VPNs have a good reputation for security and privacy.

Check for No-Logs Policy: Look for a free VPN that has a strict no-logs policy. This means they don’t store your online activities or personal information.

Transparent Privacy Policy: Ensure that the VPN provider has a clear and transparent privacy policy that explains how they handle your data.

Encryption Standards: Check what encryption standards the VPN employs. The stronger, the better.

Server Locations: Opt for a free VPN with multiple server locations so you can access content from different regions.


Trial Period: Some premium VPN providers offer limited free versions or trial periods of their services. These can be a safer option than entirely free VPNs.


In conclusion, the decision to use a free VPN for your Windows device comes with both benefits and risks. While free VPNs can enhance your online privacy and help you access geo-restricted content, they may also compromise your data security and privacy due to certain limitations and potential pitfalls. To maximize the benefits of using a free VPN while minimizing the risks, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research, choose a reputable provider, and be aware of the privacy policies and security measures in place. Ultimately, your online security is in your hands, and a well-informed choice can help you navigate the digital landscape more safely.

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