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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Post Mortem--Defeat of Ghana by Brazil (3-0)

It is an article of a combination of luck and how far I have gone with this blogging enterprise to see that no less than the BBC ( checked out my website ( The reason being for visitors to see for themselves the video commentary I captured of the jubilation by Ghanaians of the USA defeat by the West Africans.

All the world cup footballers so far might just be laughing all the way to their bank, but understandably, in varying degrees.

Ghana’s Black Stars will definitely be some $10,000-$20,000 richer for the games they played but, without a doubt, they remain heroes—just by virtue of the fact of having faced one of the stiffest challenges in the name of Brazil.

The commentators suggested they gave Brazilians a run for their money. At times, Ghana managed to penetrate – and dominate – the Brazilian defence, albeit wastefully. But that’s okay.

Had it been any other team other than my own, I would have rooted for Brazil. But that’s okay, too.

Despite the unnecessary chutzpah of non-pundits like myself of the game over a possible win against Brazil, I think deep down, most believed it would be tough facing a team that not only played a bit like us, but possessed a more skilful technique, associated with an unrivalled experience.

In my final analysis, I reckon the failure of Ghana in beating the Brazilians, whilst that prospect was a non-starter for many observers, was a good wake-up call to a creeping complacency that surrounds any debutante of a global game like the World Cup that advances to the degree the Black Stars advanced.

Failure reminds us that success is a process, and the process, by way of the African Cup of Nations, which Ghana will host in 2008, may just be what the country needs to remind itself that our debutante performance could be a lot, lot better.

Finally, is sport writing just not fantastic writing?

Video Commentary--Accra-based TV3 Late News Commentary on Ghanaian Defeat by Brazilians

In a somewhat characteristic move of mine, I ensured this time to capture the Accra-based TV3 late news on the defeat of Ghana by Brazil. Everyone in this country admits that Brazil would have gone through, but the incessant manner in which yellow cards were drawn by the Slovakian referee--not to forget his evidently partial attitude towards Brazil's (two) offside goals did not help show how well Ghana played. Check the video out for yourself.

The file was originally 19MB, but I needed to convert it to .WMV in order for it to not clog the blog. Hope you can hear the commentary, and see the pictures. Thanks!

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Ghana's Coming Home, but Brazil Stole Two "Goals"


The Brazilians played a relatively good game, but it was not, according to Barry Lambert the commentator, a Brazilian team that could not be beaten.


Ghana took more shots than the Brazilians, but the latter scored more.


That two goals were allowed by the Slovakian referee when the Brazilians were offside did not help matters for Ghana.


Check the Guardian’s comment:


44 mins: Brazil 2-0 Ghana Injustice! Lucio charged forward and fed Cafu down the right. He centred to Adriano, who tapped it home from a clearly offside position! Another scandalous decision in this increasingly farcical World Cup.



A lot of people maintain the “officiating was bad”. Others say execrable; others “racist”.


It’s not so much that this team lost, but more of a presaging of what is to come—that because of the potentially racist referees, Africa stands little chance of winning the world cup.


Some of our players missed huge ones—Asamoah Gyan being the biggest, having missed at least three, but Brazil scoring was no news. We were hoping we could have equalised. Oh well. Someone has to lose. We lost—not so lucky!


Till 2010!:-)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Yahoo Questions Live: Can Ghana Beat Brazil?

Check this out!


This is my version. Whip me when I get it wrong:


By the way, Ghana beat Czech 2-0; the USA 2-1; so I am reckoning by by seriously flawed and unscientific mathematics. that it will be Ghana 2, Brazil 2. But seeing as good things happen in threes, we will win on penalties!!:-))


Okay. Kudos for chutzpah, no??;-))



…Football has been the leitmotiv for the website, and might be till the Brazilians beat Ghana. Then again, if the contrary happens—which Ghanaians in an unexpected chutzpah believe it to be the case, considering how people are fasting today for the occasion tomorrow at 3Pm GMT—1 then it might go onJ


Just a quick update for all those non-football pundits:


  1. my love life is increasingly upping the ante—my significant other looks sexier by the week, and undoubtedly, there were fireworks of…ahem…all sorts the day after Ghana’s victory over the US. They say many babies are born after such momentous events. The key is protection. ;-)
  2. sissoula of fame has been on my mind for quite a bit, but I haven’t gone down the site, but I believe she will be a proud mother sooner than Ghana can claim victory of the World Cup. So, kudos!!!!!
  3. I have been thinking a lot lately about being a father, but I am in no way ready yet, and I have nothing in particular to write about the feeling;
  4. we are entering the month of July, that is replete with as many anniversaries as one can remember. July 1936 as the Spanish civil war—does that remind anyone that next month is sixty years when progressives worldwide claimed their name to fame in Spain, with quite a few losing their lives…
  5. one month after the middle of the year---can you imagine 5 months till Christmas??!!!!


Whither are we all going???


Maybe more on that after the world cup endsJ

Friday, June 23, 2006

Video Commentary from Ghana-based TV3 Late News--A Glimpse of Jubilation

well, what else can I say? I captured this from the late (11pm) TV3 news of jubilation in the streets as Ghana Booted the US out. The Accra Mayor jumped for joy, as did many who believe Ghana has blazed the trail for Africa...enjoy!

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ghana 2, USA 1--Redux : David Meets Super-Sized Goliath

I’m just listening to commentary from my favourite Accra-based radio station ( CITI97.3FM, which you can listen to online in crystal-clear quality. And as I sit at my desk, the cool wind blows, and I hear cars honking their horn in staccatos of one, two, three. We may be playing against the Brazilians.

The USA are out (the staccato continues), prompting a comment from my colleague that the car’s battery “is gonna die isn’t it”?

Someone shouts. Many hearts pound relentlessly.

As if in a dream, work resumes, but is it at its normal pace?

Ghana, the wrongly-speculated underdogs have transformed from football Lilliputians to the quintessential Black Stars of Africa who will be meeting Brazil – number one on the FIFA rankings – on…Tuesday.

Hold your breath, Africa. Hold your breath, World!

here are some more pictures:

Ghana and Italy top Group E, leaving the Czech Republic and the USA woefully behind.

With two minutes before half time...

The US equalise. Ouch for GhanaL Dempsey cracked in in, after a cockup on midfield that involved Swedish-based Boateng…


Kudos for the US…

Goal for Ghana!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aminu Dramani scores the first goal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! against the USA…..

Battling the US: Oh so Political!:-)--Ghana vs USA at FIFA 2006 World Cup


Never in the course of human history have so few men caused so much joy to so many people.


Winston Churchill would be proud of this statement as I paraphrased itJ It is appropriate, wouldn’t u think? This may not be World War II, but it certainly feels like a battle.


I’m off downstairs to watch. I am at work…J



Monday, June 19, 2006

Quadrennial (World Cup) Sensitivities: When Football Defies the Maths, or When David Met Goliath in Germany: Ghana 2, Czech Republic 0

Every four years, the world is awakened to the heightened and unique sensitivity that comes with twenty men running around after a small, leather ball. The timeless objective is to get that ball into that quintessential six-yard box area and score what ought to be a decisive goal.

Every four years, some succeed where others fail. Some arrive on a neophyte ticket and perform woefully, making it very difficult to return, whilst others just go for their last time.

Some call it the World Cup; others "the beautiful game".

I am far from being a football pundit, but it is fair to say that this year�s world cup games have brought about a number of surprises.

From Togo's surprise first goal leading to defeat of 3-1 for the Koreans once the Togolese lost their captain after a red card; to the rather lackluster Brazilian performance against the Croatians that saw them winning in the second half on a scoreline of 1-0 in their favour; the English scoreline of only "1" goal against the Paraguay's "0" to Saturday's quasi-brilliant display of a David-versus-goliath match that saw the debutante Ghana team, ranked 48th in FIFA rankings mesmerize international audiences by scoring an unexpected 2-0 against the Czechs, ranked second to the Brazilians who top the FIFA rankings.

If ever I believed that luck and flair could defy mathematics and technique, it was that historic Saturday 17 June, 2006, when minutes before the match, the skies opened up in the West African country of Ghana to deliver what one could only presage as showers of blessing from Above.

The Czechs might have had key strikers missing, but so did the Italians have one of their key players, Pirlo, being only 70 percent fit, yet managing to defeat Ghana with two decisive goals. Whether the Italian goals from the Azzurris were lucky goals or not, it was evident that Ghanaians--not to mention their national football team of the Black Stars--were crest-fallen.

Thankfully, the Black Stars, to borrow the words of a lawyer-cum-presenter on CITI 97.3FM -- one of the Ghanaian capital's leading English-speaking radio stations broadcasting from "the heart of the city", who wrote a poem for the Stars, arose and surprised.

Kudos for the Czech goalkeeper for speaking up for Asamoah-Gyan, Ghana's leading striker who scored the first goal against the Czechs within two minutes of the game, when he took a penalty before the referee's whistle, incurring a yellow card. Cech maintained that Asamoah Gyan, the Modena forward, took the penalty because he heard a whistle, which actually came from the crowd.

That's what I call sportsmanship. That's what I call great football.

But, ofcourse, I would say that: I am a very proud Ghanaian.

For the sake of posterity, I have captured the last ten minutes of the game on my digital camera, and uploaded it on my blogs, so whether you are an Accra by Day and Night visitor, or an international visitor to my Reflecting Eccentric World of E.K.Bensah II, or my indigenous Trials & Tribulations of a Freshly-Arrived Denizen, you are seeing this post in uniformity.

God Bless our Homeland Ghana!!

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Read the Guardian newspaper's account here: Ghana's young stars reflect the diamond at their heart.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

10 Years On after Marc Dutroux, Belgium Still Experiencing Kidnapping Cases, and More on Child-Trafficking/Labour

It will be ten years in August this year that my mind will be cast back to August 1996, the month and year I started university to meet horrible news in the Belgian capital of Brussels: the emaciated bodies of two young girls who had been starved days before they were buried, Julie and Melissa, would be found in the backyard of the huge garden of notorious paedophile Marc Dutroux. I re-call picking up a copy of the UK-based Sunday Times back then from a newspaper stand in Brussels, and Marc Dutroux's picture plasted all over, with the words "Monster".

Thankfully, in 2004, a few weeks before I came back home to Ghana, he would get, I believe, a sentence of 30years-- life sentence for the kidnappings, without possibility of parole.

Ten years later, the recent news of two missing girls in Liege--some thirty minutes drive from Brussels--would come to haunt Belgium. I read with shock that two 7- and 10-yr-old stepsisters are "missing", triggering speculation that they have been abducted. Read the story below:

Police fail to find any
trace of missing girls

13 June 2006

BRUSSELS — Police abandoned their search on Monday for the two girls who went missing in Liège on Saturday morning.

Some 60 police officers searched for the step-sisters Stacy Lemmens, 7, and Nathalie Mahy, 10, in forests, scrub and buildings in the vicinity of the Citadelle hospital.

A helicopter was also deployed to scan the banks of the Maas River, while a search was held in the area around the football field in the Rue des Glacis

The two girls disappeared early on Saturday morning while they were at a funfair with their parents in the Liège district of Saint-Léonard.

The disappearance is a chilly reminder of child killer Marc Dutroux, who

kidnapped two girls in the same region more than a decade ago.

The Liège public prosecutor Anne Bourguignont has now urged the boyfriend of a waitress at the café Aux Armuriers to contact authorities.

The man was in the café until 1.30am on Saturday and has not been seen since. The family of the missing girls was at that same café on Friday night.

Bourguignont did not confirm whether the man is the same person who was released on parole after being convicted for sex crimes and is also being hunted by police.

Meanwhile, Child Focus will spread 30,000 posters of the missing girls via Delhaize supermarkets, chemists, volunteers and public transport companies De Lijn, NMBS-SNCB and the MIVB-STIB.

It is increasingly apparent that the girls are the victim of a kidnapping and have not ran away from home as initially speculated.

Police are still looking for a resident of the Saint-Léonard city district who has been released from jail on parole. The man was sentenced for 15 crimes, including a sex crime against an adult.

Prosecutor Bourguignon will convene a co-ordination meeting of magistrates, investigating judges, police and prosecution officials and Child Focus on Tuesday afternoon.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

If you are visiting this blog, and indeed this article, from outside Europe and beyond, you may fail to appreciate the magnitude of the grief anad distress that parents experience when their loved one "disappears", sometimes without a trace. I do not think you have to be a parent to appreciate the pain associated with the unknown whereabouts of your brother or sister, or even friend.

When I hear cases like this, I am reminded about the human condition, and how things are rarely as black-and-white as we like to think. For example, the US may be a great country, but it is also a country with a considerable number of cases of serial killers. What causes that? The FBI, we find from movies, maintains that bed-wetters are potential serial killers.

Not to say that that is not true, but I was a bed-wetter. Does that make me a potential serial-killer?

Belgium, in my many years stay there, was an incredibly interesting country. The people are...unique...for want of a better word. The standard of living is among the best in Europe, yet their biggest bane is nipping in the bud the spate of kidnappings, which are often not for ransom-sake. So, my question, then, is what causes such people to kidnap? Is it sexual depravity? What?

For me, the most disturbing is that after ten years of the Dutroux case, which painted Belgium in a deeply bad light, you would have thought the authorities would have learnt from it. One of the things the US started doing with cases of kidnappings by putting the pictures of those abducted on milk cartons, and while ChildFocus in Belgium, established in 1998 after the Dutroux case plateaued, remains a useful complement (they operate 24/7), it still begs the question whether the Belgian authorities are doing enough?

It is times like these, especially when I think of crime-fighting organisations like the FBI, and their "Investigative Programs
Crimes Against Children"
that I am awakened to the greatness of the USA.

According to the latter website, "Research has indicated that subjects who abduct children typically are not first-time offenders, but are serial offenders who often travel during the commission of multiple sexual offenses against children".

Might the Belgian authorities not take a cue from this? Belgium is right in the heart of Europe with borders all around. Crossing into Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, or France is no mean feat, where a child will be lost forever. Might Belgium not get more serious about how it handles missing cases?

Now, whilst we are on the subject of children, it might interest you to know that 12 June was Child Labour Day. The UN's International Labour Organisation has launched a report that supports the view that child labour is declining. You can glance the stats here.

Having said that, more work evidently needs to be done, especially if you consider these sobering views:

According to the U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report released in June 2003, human trafficking appears to the be on the rise. And this phenomenon touches every single nation, including the United States. The American Government estimates that between 18,000 to 20,000 people are trafficked in the U.S. Human trafficking is crime. And it is one of the worst human rights violations today.

Who are victims of human trafficking? And what are they forced to do? Men, women, boys, and girls, especially those from vulnerable situations, are victims of this international crime. They are trafficked within their countries, usually from poor rural areas to urban centers. They are trafficked across nations through an intricate network. And what happens to these men, women, and children? Many are forced to perform various forms of labor. Women and girls are especially vulnerable as most are forced into commercial sex work. According to the latest report by the International Labor Organization (ILO), approximately 1.2 million children are victims of trafficking.

(...) And in today’s age when the internet provides instant global communication, more children are finding themselves in dangerous and life-threatening situations similar to the ones in this lesson.

The fact that adults ruthlessly exploit children for sexual purposes is an extremely difficult subject for many adolescents. However, raising awareness of this challenging problem is also extremely important as awareness is the first step toward finding an effective solution.

In a cynical move to try to link child abductions to trafficking, you might feel that the link is tenuous. When they say truth is stranger than fiction, they know why: usually, when abductors don't kill their victims, they are often passed on to child-sex prostitution rings, where they are lost in the maelstrom of a more-than-seedy, sordid world, where there is little chance of being found.

According to the Irish Refugee Council Press Release of 25 May (International Missing Children’s Day), which you can read here:

  • While hard evidence is lacking, experience from both Ireland and beyond suggests that there is a strong link between missing children and child trafficking

  • A Swedish case study illustrates the link between vulnerable separated children and trafficking. In 2005, a total of fifty Chinese separated children went missing from accommodation centres in Sweden

  • Some of the children may be trafficked into Ireland for the purpose of sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and other forms of child labour and as such are lured away by traffickers

  • Finally, just some mental pabulum: this story Couple Accused Of Trying To Sell Children In Tijuana about the US couple that sold and took cash for their 18-month-old daughter and 3-year-old son.

    Let's take care of our children, for God's sake!

    Monday, June 12, 2006

    Thankyou to all those who visit but PLEASE...

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    Thank You!

    Monday, June 05, 2006

    Abortive, Maybe, But Still a (Basic) Thriller

    I caught the 2003 (military) thriller, Basic, with John Travolta and Connie Nielson over the weekend on DVD. The regrettable thing is that we missed the last ten minutes of the film on account of a vestigial scratch beneath the DVD:-(

    Needless-to-say, I am beginning to grow an appetite for military thrillers that tend to throw up more twists than a rattlesnake in the Panama jungle...;-) Travolta, being one of my favourite actors, pulled this one off effortlessly, portraying a witty DEA Agent determined to get, well, to the bottom of the task asssigned him. Nielson was characteristically, and managed to kick-ass in more ways than one;-)

    It reminds me so much of another military flick with another incredibly gorgeous and sexy lady-Ashley Judd, who acted with Morgan Freeman in High Crimes.

    If you haven't yet seen the movie, go get the DVD, ignore what critics have to say, and make up your own mind about it--even if it is to drool at Ashley Judd!:-)

    In the meantime, ideas are still ongoing for my thriller--thankfully, not a military one!!--as I am now in the process of introducing the killer into the story--it's only chapter four!!

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