Once Upon a Time…


Ghana's Away Jersey could brighten a dull day


This post was prompted by a query from a new reader to this site who wrote all the way from Santos, Brazil. His was a simple question. Why white? As in, why do the Black Stars wear white jerseys? Italy have blue as in azzurri, the Dutch have orange as in oranje, the Swiss have red as in there is red in their flag and so on.

But Ghana, no white in our flag and yet white it is. I thought about it for a second and was about to give a very uninformed answer such as we are a very religious people and white is generally the color of angels so to have them on our side, we chose white. Then I thought, that is daft!!! So I waited a minute and called my source(s)!!!

Here is what I came up with. 

The original national team jersey was white with the black star on it. When the Black Stars were first formed under Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, they had a Black Star at the back and to make it more prominent they had a white background.  At the time and even now, the Black Star became  a prominent symbol of Black pride.

Essentially, what we have done is to go back to Nkrumah’s Ghana so to speak.  You will notice that it is not as prominently displayed as before. Puma has the Star woven into the fabric and it doesn’t stand out as much as it used to (And yes I was there chatting with Nkrumah as he unveiled it). Not! Would Nkrumah be rolling in his grave? Who knows, but I guess times have changed. 

Over the years and throughout the 90s when I was growing up, they experimented with various jerseys and I am used to some color in them. In fact, the color became more prominent in the 70s and 80s. I guess someone thought they should be sexed up like US intelligence reports. 

At one time, you could find yellow shirts with black trimmings and yellow shorts. Those were the days. I remember Abedi Pele and Tony Yeboah strutting their stuff in the sunflower yellows with their tight ‘sezy’ shorts. You remember CAN ’96 held in South Africa? Men will do anything to get noticed, won’t they!!! But I digress.

There is also some variation of a red, gold and green with the Black Star like the one at this link. That one was worn in the 80s I believe. You probably could not have this anymore as FIFA has many guidelines as to what jerseys should look like. For instance, the jerseys cannot have more than two colors. Also, if there is more than one color, you have to use a combination of light and dark colors. 

In any case, for those who want color, our away jersey is bright red with strips of yellow. That would brighten any dull day. I would say though that given our history, the missing Black Star in this away strip is heresy!!!

In conclusion, our national emblem is the black star and so when you think of the Ghana jersey you should think more of the star than the colors of the flag. If you must think flag, recall away jersey. 

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SA, here we come.

The list is out


Kevin-Prince Boateng will earn his first meaningful caps in South Africa


Milovan Rajevac’s final list of 23 players to represent Ghana has been presented. There are no real surprises but clearly the injuries to Michael Essien and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu have been huge in determining who made the team. I am curious who Milo had in mind before these injuries. Under the circumstances, I got three of the players wrong from my predictions. Never mind that two of them are down to injury.

I am a bit surprised that he dropped Eric Addo given the problems John Mensah has had this season with fitness. That shows Rajevac’s faith in the emergence of Isaac Vorsah and Lee Addy during the African Nations Cup not to mention the promise of Jonathan Mensah. 

Nevertheless, I do not think Eric Addo was necessarily going to be the reason why we didn’t succeed so I cannot argue. At moments like this you have to trust the coach’s instincts since he works with the players daily and observes their inadequacies. Was it a loss of pace for Addo? We may never know. 

All in all, I think this is the best we have to offer and the onus is on us now to focus on those chosen and give them our maximum support. If our underdog position in the last world cup and this year’s nations’ cup is anything to go by then we are ready to shock the world. 

We may have some clues as to how Milo intends to use some of the players in our upcoming friendly matches against the Netherlands and Latvia. 

Keep the faith, Black Stars nation. As my Accra brothers say, Ebaa hi. E go be. And see you in South Africa.

Noooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!! Essien to sit out World Cup


Don't mind the face. Sadness all around as Essien sits


Breaking news, breaking news!!! Michael Essien is going to miss the world cup. Oh. You heard? So that must have been what all the silence was about. Talk about hearing a pin drop while church mice remained quiet. If you took the news like I took it then your day was ruined. As one of my facebook friends put it, “We are (fill in the blank)”- to be said at a high decibel. And then you went looking for the faintest of silver linings. Well, I guess it’s better we know now. It’s early enough that we can adjust. We did well without him in the African Nations Cup. We have capable players. Essien hasn’t played since January so we weren’t going to get his best anyways, a sentiment I heard from a fan on radio. No worries, we are still going to shock the world, a sentiment expressed best by another facebook friend in a letter to the nation.

“Dear Ghana, make u no shiver! Black Stars without Essien is like a man with one ball (no pun intended). We may not be complete, but we can still make babies on the green grass. Yes, Germany, Australia and Serbia will still call us “Daddy”. The oracle has spoken! :)”

Bad news discombobulates some people so forgive his trending to the uncouth albeit imaginative.

But it all kept coming back to the same thing. Noooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There’s no way to minimize Essien’s absence. A few weeks ago, I outlined Essien’s importance in this post. But I never in my wildest dreams thought he would miss the world cup. Where do we go from here? How do we adjust and who should we look to to fill his HUMONGOUS shoes? These are all questions my mourning period does not allow me to tackle immediately. Feel free to air your thoughts though.


I just saw this story about government asking everyone to start showing support for the Black Stars. First of all, the BBC reporter said many Ghanaians clearly missed the memo and I was one of them. When was the directive given and where? Three weeks or so to the tournament, are people really going to follow it? This was before the Champions league match and fans were more likely to be seen in red for Bayern Munich and blue and black for Inter than seeing any red gold green outfits.

Nevertheless, it is a noble idea and I hope we all join to show some pride in the national team. Let’s start this Friday. This article and the launch of the Professional Footballers Association of Ghana (PFAG) last week Friday got me thinking about what it means to be patriotic. Where does it begin and end especially when it comes to sports? Tough question but let me offer a few points.

PFAG secretary Tony Baffoe says he is ready to fight for players' rights


The chance to represent Ghana is an honor and the desire to represent the country as one of 23 ambassadors should be applauded. Too often, we the fans forget how hard these players work to be in the team. Obviously it helps to get professional contracts when you do well for your national team but there is also a pride that comes with being chosen that must be different from donning a club jersey.

At the launch of the PFAG, it was heartwarming to see current and former national team players. It reminds you of the sacrifices they make for the country. It was especially powerful to see in a short video, C. K. Gyamfi talking about coaching Ghanaian players to the cup win in Libya while playing at least one group match with ‘coal tar’ jerseys. Coal tar jerseys were necessary because they had to use the uniforms they trained with to play the games. They didn’t have numbers on the backs of their training jerseys so they used coal tar to mark the jerseys. This is not only the stuff of improvisation and genius but of dedication. No matter the odds, the players were willing to lay it on the line for Ghana. And yet, coach Gyamfi has still not got his pension and is fed up of chasing it.

And that leads me to how we think of rewarding our players. Football players have relatively short time spans to earn good money. At the just-ended African Cup of Nations there was some grumbling at the bonuses that the players earned after winning. There was also some talk about whether the earnings should be taxed. And yet, not everyone earns Michael Essien money. These players typically have a six to ten year period of maximum contract money. They play professionally and competitively until their mid- late 30s and rarely beyond that. That gives them another 40 or so years to earn a living other than playing or live on their riches depending on how you look at it. Given the backgrounds of many of our players, their options are limited in retirement. Saying they should be paid less than what they earn should be taken within this context. Is it patriotic on our part to deny them what their value at the peak of their athletic prowess is? Tough question. How many of us when told to take pay cuts when we are valued at a certain number for mother Ghana would take that cut? Again, tough question but hopefully thought provoking.

For more pictures on the PFAG launch, check this link out. Sorry for the graininess of the pictures.

Out of Many, Few are Chosen


Milovan Rajevac's smile will disappear as players are cut


Ghana named its provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup over a week ago. By June 1, the squad will be pruned to 23. For those doing the math, seven players will be axed. And no, they do not die as a result.

At first glance, I merely dismissed the names as the usual suspects (save for Kevin Prince Boateng) and thought that there were no real surprises. A second look at the list and I thought, WHHOOAAAAAA!!!!! What a dilemma for the coach? If Milovan Rajevac does not have his vats of Panadol or Ibuprofen ready, he better put Bayer on speed dial for it is going to be one tough job to cut seven players. I think four out of those seven cuts will be downright excruciating. Why do I say that?

Take a look. One keeper will certainly not go. My bet is Stephen Adams will not be chosen. I think this is probably the easiest prediction. I believe two defenders will not make the 23. My sense is Rahim Ayew’s lack of regular playing time at his club costs him a place. Even though Rajevac has been fond of him, he is more able to overlook Ayew than some of the other defenders. That leaves the left back position a bit vulnerable in the event Hans-Adu Sarpei gets injured. That’s nothing a change in formation can’t fix though. We would probably change to a 3-5-1 formation if that happens. Also, while Eric Addo is listed as a midfielder, his presence in South Africa would be as a defender. Let’s not kid ourselves.  Jonathan Mensah would be the other defender who would probably be on the bubble but my prediction is he squeaks in.

Rajevac has an embarrassment of riches in midfield. In fact, I think he has a much stronger midfield to choose from for this world cup than his predecessor Ratomir Djukovic had four years ago. Anthony Annan, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Kwadwo Asamoah and Andre “Dede” Ayew have all emerged to give the regulars four years ago some competition. Add Kevin-Prince Boateng to that list. Assuming all five players go to South Africa, the others to join him would be an uninjured if not match-fit Michael Essien, Stephen Appiah and Sulley Muntari. That leaves Derek Boateng, Bernard Yao Kumordzi, Laryea Kingston, and Haminu Dramani out in the South African cold.   

As for forwards, there are five listed. I consider Quincy Owusu-Abeyie a forward who could be an attacking midfielder or winger so he has some versatility. I say Rajevac takes four forwards with Prince Tagoe the odd man out. 

So Tagoe it is. 

So, to recap, the final cuts will be Bernard Yao Kumordzi, Haminu Dramani, Laryea Kingston, Derek Boateng, Prince Tagoe, Stephen Adams and Rahim Ayew. Take that to the bank. 

And you didn’t even need an oracle on this one. Just Coach Blackstarsfan. 

Now if only Rajevac can figure out who the starting 11 will be composed of.  It never stops, does it?



Germany's Michael Ballack sees his World Cup hopes end


Germany’s Michael Ballack will miss the 2010 World Cup because of damage to ankle ligaments. Some would say it is because of a tackle by Kevin-Prince Boateng. It’s the old tomato argument isn’t it? You say Kevin-Prince, I say ankle ligament damage. Either way, the cynics are having a field day on this one. Could Kevin-Prince have been the perfect mercenary for this hit job (said in a movie trailer announcer’s voice)? The man who lost out on playing for Germany’s senior national team after a promising youth career is seeking revenge and decided to show an assassin’s precision. Or could it be an attempt to show that he is completely loyal to the Ghanaian cause? Swearing fealty to the Coat of Arms, the flag and YEn Ara Asa Se ni to name a few. Either way, the Germans are in unforgiving mood. Germany’s coach, Joachim Loew had to come to the defense of Jerome Boateng, Kevin-Prince’s half-brother, who is ironically in the German team. Kevin-Prince for his part has offered a royal apology.

Let me add another theory. Remember Bochum? As in 6-1 Bochum? Yes, that day when Ghana scored the first goal and it was 1-0 at the half and we were all feeling good!!! Three goals in the space of one minute in the second half put paid to our delusions. But three more? In a ‘friendly’ match? C’mon ze Germans, that was not nice now was it? My take is Kevin-Prince’s father naturally torn as to who to support had his heart with the Ghanaians. Then six and sitting in his dad’s lap, Kevin-Prince discerned his dad’s distress and vowed to REVENGE!!! the loss. What better way to do that than in an FA cup final with the captain of Germany sitting there like a duck ready to be taken out? 

But I ask simply, can’t we all just get along? I prefer to rely on some new age spiritualism. The universe brought these men together to set up a mouth watering clash at the world cup. Need I remind you that the Black Stars play them in the last game of the group stages? You can just see the headlines. Traitor!!! Brother vs. Brother. The prodigal son returns and so on (more headline suggestions welcome).

So much conjecture though. Could it be that these were simply two players hungry to win an FA cup medal who were likely to come together physically at one point or another in a 90 minute by virtue of their positions on the field? It was a committed (some would say reckless) tackle but it is football after all and with all due respect to the Black Queens, it is a man’s game.