Why Ghana Lost to Burkina Faso

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Earlier on in the day, West African Soccer giants Nigeria had seen off Mali 4-1, and most people were expecting another giant in the form of Ghana to see of Burkina Faso and set up a juicy  clashwith  its eastern neighbor, but the Stallions came along and spoiled the party.

From the first blast of the referee’s whistle, the Burkinabe exerted much dynamism and confidence and bossed majority possession. They dominated Ghana all over the pitch, but were not resourceful in front of goal.

But Ghana took the lead through a debatable penalty converted by regular shooter Mumbarak Wakaso. From then on the Black Stars came more into the game and had a few chances that better players would have savored and buried, with Asamoah Gyan being the worst culprit—having the Burkinabe keeper at his mercy, but choosing to shoot straight instead of going for  an intelligent chip. No wonder he plays in the United Arab Emirates. He’s fit for that league.

The second half seemed more even, with Ghana creating better chances. But the Burkinabe also had their fair share of chances, most notably Bance, who went ahead to equalize for the Stallions.

As the second help pattered out, extra time and penalties seemed inevitable, and I was lest dumbfounded when Kwesi Appiah substituted our regular spot-kick taker and goal scorer Wakaso.

“Naive substitution” was the first thing that jumped out of my mouth. But I take those words back. Even Jose Mourihno once made such a mistake; when he substituted Mesut Ozil (a potential penalty taker) in last season’s Champions’ League semi-final clash against Bayern in a match that Madrid eventually lost on penalties.

All the same, Wakaso staying on the pitch to see out the game and take our first shootout would have been a better alternative. He could have scored to inspire confidence in the subsequent penalty takers. One then wonders what the coach was thinking—to win the match during normal time or within the extra 30 minutes? He evidently didn’t know what he was doing.

In a nutshell, Ghana was mediocre throughout the tournament, and losing to a better team shouldn’t be painful. The coach wasn’t up to scratch, and his players seemed only interested in  sporting hairstyles that were more attractive than their footballing skills.

A bunch of below par players captained by a Middle East  league player. We deserved to lose.

Burkina Faso was always going to be the better team, and they were.

Why Die Young and Leave a Good Looking Corpse?

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Nothing moves my heart and saddens me more than hearing about the death of someone young; most especially, if such a death could have been prevented by the person himself/herself or a different set of circumstances occurring. Take for instance the scenario of the young man who gets caught having sex with a married woman, and the furious husband chances on them, and, in his anger, strangles him to death there and then. What about the young boy who was repeatedly warned by his mom to not go on the school excursion to that dangerous waterfall, but slips out of the house, goes, and never comes back alive? Oh, Lord!

Now, if you’re a literature buff like me, you’ll readily recognize the inspiration behind the title of this piece: Why Die Young and Leave a Good Looking Corpse?

For those of you not familiar with that phrase, a variation of it occurs in “Knock on any Door;” a novel by African-American writer Willard F. Motley. Nick Romano, the leading character in the novel, said something thus: “Live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse.”

I’m not in anyway trying to pinpoint and suspect people who die young as individuals who knew what they were doing. No! But some, surely, live as if they were only born to die young and leave good looking corpses. A perfect example would be the young man who gets caught with someone another person’s wife and gets killed. What was he thinking? Has he never contemplated what would occur if the husband discovers him in the act? Only God knows.

Let’s rest the speculations there. Now, why do some people die young? Why do some people leave behind good looking corpses rather than living long and growing old then dying to gift their relatives with ugly corpses to dispose off?

I believe the answers to these questions are provided in a few scripture verses—Romans 9:15 and the 13th chapter of Luke most succinctly. Yes, God sometimes take some people away for reasons known only to him (including people who may not be sinners), but some die because of sin. Death is the reward of sin. It is.

Romans 9:15 records God saying: “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

I’m no Bible scholar but will stretch my neck out to claim that if the above be true then God sometimes stays his hand and refuses to have mercy or interfere in things happening down here as he did for a while during Satan’s buffeting of Jobs. Ezekiel 18:20 vouchsafes this actually.

That 13th Chapter of Luke also contains a story that illustrates this scenario poignantly. Jesus’ disciples were talking to him about an accident—the Tower of Siloam falling and killing a number of people. They sort of asked the Savior, “Those people who died were they sinners?”

“No,” the Christ seemingly replied. “They were not sinners more than those alive. But unless you repent, you shall likewise perish.”

Christ, put another way, was saying that everyone is a sinner but anyone who continually and notoriously abides in sin is like a leaf in the wind.

He/she can be blown here or there and anything can happen to him/her. Such a person can drop dead at any moment from just something small happening to him/her unless God intervenes. And HE AT TIMES CHOOSES NOT TO INTERVENE!

GOD AT TIMES CHOOSES NOT TO INTERVENE!

Now, let us pray, O Lord, grant that we might have the strength in Christ to walk far from sin and abide under your heavenly care always. May we not sin and open ourselves to Satan’s buffeting, for if we sin he pronounces us guilty and punishes at will. Save us from this, O Lord.

In the name of Christ we pray with much thanksgiving. Amen.

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Stanley Courage Dugah is a writer and poet based in Ghana. He regularly blogs at scdugah.wordpress.com. Besides writing online, he’s also working on a number of novels, novellas, short stories, and a poetry collection. You can connect with him on facebook or follow @StanleyCDugah.

Zig Ziglar: A Life Well Lived?

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Zig Ziglar wasn’t the first motivational/inspirational speaker I stumbled on, but he was the one who got me going. Prior to listening to his exceptional audio ‘How to Stay Motivated,” I had read “Goals” by Brain Tracy and listened to a few Jim Rohn tapes. None of them, however, resonated with me or influenced me into consistent action. And it probably was because of my greenness to the motivational classroom not any incapability on the part of Brain and Jim.

They sure inspired some self-belief and hope in me, but Ziglar it was who changed me.

I had been, before listening to Ziglar’s tape, a dreamer and an inactive one at that. I haboured ambitions of becoming a great writer one day, and a social entrepreneur who’ll matter to my society and be of significance in other people’s lives, but I wasn’t doing anything to make my dreams realities. I wasn’t honing my creative talent, and I wasn’t saving money to start my own business sometime to come. I was totally inactive and stagnating, not indulging in the consistent actions necessary for any form of success in life.

Added to that, I was also battling depression and a sense of worthlessness after losing a girl I loved passionately and was building my world around.

But Ziglar came by and gave me hope. He lighted a fire under my ass that got me jumping up and down and screaming my head off at the possibilities that are open to me once I leave the past behind, become grateful for the present, and prepare for tomorrow by developing my abilities and working my socks off now. He inspired me into consistent action.

Below are some of the hardest-hitting quotes from that exceptional audio of his (with a few paraphrased):

“Motivation doesn’t last? Neither does bathing! That’s why we recommend it daily.”

“Failure is an event not a person. Night really ends today. Tomorrow is a chance to make a new beginning.”

“When you are tough on yourself, life is going to be infinitely easier on you.”

“Regardless of how good or bad my past had been, regardless of how good or bad my present is, there’s something I can specifically do now that will make my tomorrow/future either better or worse, and the choice is mine.”

“If there’s hope in the future, there’s power in the present.”

“Money isn’t everything, but it rates reasonably close to oxygen/air on the “got to have it scale.”

“You’re at the top when you clearly understand that failure is an event, not a person. That yesterday ended last night, and today is your brand new day. You make friends with your past, but focus on the present and become optimistic about the future. You’re at the top when you know that a success doesn’t make you and failure doesn’t break you. You’re at the top when you’re at peace with God and in fellowship with man. You’re at the top when you recognize and use your God-given talents to the benefit of mankind. You’re at the top when you stand before God and He tells you: “Well done, you faithful and productive servant.”

Zig Ziglar’s life was, indeed, one well lived. He inspired millions upon millions to discover their true potentials, and I’m chief among them.Hats off to the departed. His was a life well lived.

I see him now. He stands before God, and the Old Man tells him: “Well done, you faithful and good servant.”

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Stanley Courage Dugah is a writer and poet based in Ghana. He regularly blogs at scdugah.wordpress.com. Besides writing online, he’s also working on a number of novels, novellas, short stories, and a poetry collection. You can connect with him on facebook or follow @StanleyCDugah.

Significance of JDM’s Emergence as President of Ghana

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He isn’t an Akan or Ewe but a citizen of Gonja origins in the Northern part of Ghana, and without shame, hails from one of a number of ethnic groups that some foul-mouthed and ignorant politicians consider as being incapable of doing nothing other than rearing cattle and delighting in internal conflicts. I speak of John Dramani Mahama; Ex-Vice President, President interim, President-elect, and now Chief Commander of Ghana.

When then President John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills dropped dead on the 24th of July, 2012, a new chapter got opened in Ghanaian politics. Yet the party he led was on familiar territory.

Since the adoption of democracy in 1992, the National Democratic Congress seemed to have stipulated a succession rule, which may not be written in stone but apparent. Ideally, a leader who have exhausted his/her term of leadership or becomes incapacitated or dies should be succeeded by a deputy,  who had understudied him and boasts enough experience to step into the shoes of the former boss. Ex-President Rawlings, in 2000, passed on the NDC baton to his Vice President at the time, Prof. John E.A. Mills, and some may have suspected that the Professor’s selection of Mahama as his running mate for the 2008 elections made him an automatic and future successor to the leadership post. But others thought otherwise.

Save Dr. Hilla Limann’s brief stint as President from 1979 to 1981, no other person or candidate of Northern origins ever became head of state, and such a thing happening seemed, for the foreseeable future, unlikely. Northerners might be anointed as presidential running mates of the two major parties (the NPP and NDC), but be put forward as ultimate candidates? That was a no-go area. It was definite and decided for the wooing of Northern voters.

A few NDC folks may play the Ostrich and hide their heads in the sand to argue that JDM succeeding President Mills in 2016 was to be the case, but I beg to differ. Bigwig NDC members wouldn’t have seen it that way and would have contested the post with him in the same way Ex-Vice President John Aliu Mahama of the New Patriotic Party was denied the chance to succeed Ex-President Kuffour in 2008.

Mills’ demise, however, enabled Mahama to become interim President and de facto leader of the National Democratic Congress (a case of fortune favouring the prepared or lady luck smiling on a Vice-President who would have lost a 2016 flagbearership if he dared put himself forward to be chosen?) Whatever.

Finding itself in such a position, the NDC was not prepared to allow a flabearership contest that could have brought up a new face as party leader after John Dramani Mahama serves as President interim before the public eye for more than four months. That would have been political naivety; a move without political forethought and fineness, surely?

The man was already well known, easy to market, and looked poised to continue the so called “Better Ghana Agenda” initiated by the late President John Evans Atta Mills. Strategy then recommended that he be maintained as party leader and candidate for the December Elections.

And with an exuberance of character, which no one can take away form him, a communicative edge, a positive personality brand, “normal abuse of incumbency,” and a flat-footed stance from the opposition, he was enabled and clinched an NDC victory in Election 2012 to become President-elect.

Foul-mouthed politicians, eat your hearts out! Nay-sayers, begone! John Dramani Mahama (after being sworn in) is now President of State and Commander in Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces.

Pop goes the bubble. A myth is busted.  Anybody (whether Ga, Ewe, Akan, Hausa etc. ; whether coming from a cattle rearing community, a fishing enclave, a farming culture, a gold mining environment or anywhere else in Ghana) can now aspire to the highest post of the land. That’s a plus for Ghanaian democracy. That’s the significance of John Dramani Mahama’s emergence and election and enthronement as President on this 7th day of January, 2013.

Hail the Chief! Hearken unto the Commander! Congrats Sir. Ghana is now yours to steer.   

A Blue Monday in Blue Manchester (Written yesterday, immediately after Man. City’s 1-0 victory over United.)

A glance at the team list amused me.

We’re gonna mimic Mourhino!

Why bench Silva’s twin?

Why bench virtuoso Valencia?

Ah, Fergie knows best.

A few first passes pleased me.

We’re gonna have a real United go!

But? Why not mark Kompany, Ferdinard?

But? Why not goal out and grab, Gea?

Ah, the blue boys have the answers.

Soon, it staled.

We’re in for a boring, boring non-goal fest.

Alas, a player with a Company like head

Came along, piloted up and painted Manchester blue.

Now, our noisy neighbors have a pain-thing to noise about.

There–a revolution real in Manchester.

There reigns Mancini in Manchester.

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End of season, end of story; banter starts.

A Meal Out at Hotel Classico

Sergio was on song, serene;
Ever serenading into midfield
To mop up Messi.Image
 
The little Martian was great
But a tad below Mars level.
 
The translator turned tactician
Had me fooled, but not fooled alone;
I was a pundit plunging for a draw
Only to be wowed with a worthy win
 
CR7, like AVB, gave a slap in the face
To that tedious “big match stat.”
 
Marcelo was mercilessly left out;
Too hot-headed to mark Messi
Pepe left his head hot at home
But brought along his boots.
 
Casillas was “Valdes-better”
And with the deftest of touches,
Denied Xavi, Messi, Iniesta and co.
La Liga is done and dusted.
NB: I wrote this poem immediately after Real Madrid’s 2-1 victory over Barcelona at the Camp Nou.