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Children with an Alive & Kicking ball

Tag: Accra

The Ball Box and The Injured Ball

“Pomp and pageantry will welcome you in Lome tomorrow and we need to create some magic around The Ball”, says DHL’s PR guru Sammy Duodu. The Ball is going to meet the Togolese Minister of Sport in an official ceremony at the border. Sammy sources a polystyrene box and decorates it with DHL tape, a DHL sticker and lines it with comfortable yellow silk material to provide extra comfort.

The Ball in The BoxThe Ball in The Box

Amazing, (yes, his real name!), is a freelance media expert hired by DHL to help out in Ghana. He assists with filming, logistics and setting up lots of TV appearances. The Ball is all over the press in Ghana and we find out that Ghanaians are mad about football and very interested in The Ball.

The Ball was injured and rushed to hospital in the Ivory Coast. In the intensive care station it received a bandage and a telling off and it was told in no uncertain terms to rest. But rest is one thing that this ball cannot do. The Ball MUST be played in countless games of football all the way to South Africa. It cannot stay in bed. The referees will be waving play on until we get to Nairobi, where The Ball will be re-stitched in the same place it was hand stitched in January by Bernard at Alive and Kicking’s stitching centre.

Amazing carries The BallAmazing prepares to carry Amazing Ball across the border

Let The Ball roll.


Kweku Obeng Lartey is a Ghanaian and a good friend of mine. We both studied our masters in Public Policy at the now named Willy Brandt School of Public Policy in Erfurt, Germany.

Kweku and AndrewKweku and Andrew outside of Kweku’s home in Accra

Kweku, the organiser in his year, was constantly coming up with ideas for interaction and throwing himself totally into the university community. It is no overstatement to say that nearly everyone on campus knew and liked Kweku. He is one of those people who never has a bad word to say about anyone, who always has a smile on his face and whose positive attitude to life brings out the best in the people he meets.

Kweku, a highly talented and skilled young Ghanaian, graduated with a Masters degree in Public Policy but he didn’t want to stay in Germany, he didn’t want to remain in Europe: No. Kweku, like the countless number of educated Africans we are meeting on our journey to South Africa, was always intent to take his education and head back home to give back to his community and to be with his people. And Accra, his home city, is a great place to be.

Kweku and his family embrace Andrew and The BallKweku and his family embrace Andrew and The Ball

There are thousands of educated young Africans who, like Kweku, are coming back to Africa with a top quality education and international networks and investing their futures here, when they could easily remain in Europe or America or Australasia. Kweku represents the future of this continent. He has the know-how, the skills and the desire to lead Africa into the future.

The last time I saw Kweku was in September 2008. He was leaving Erfurt with his MPP. I bought him and his fellow classmate Eneda lunch. We said our goodbyes. More than a year and a half later and Kweku and I are meeting up in Accra. In early 2007 we first talked about The Ball’s journey to the World Cup. Phil and Christian were in Erfurt for a planning session. Christian and I were offering an undergraduate seminar called Spirit of Football and about 20 students were integrated into the planning. We were discussing West Africa. Kweku became our West Africa consultant. He was adamant that the West Africa itinerary was doable and necessary. “You can’t travel to the World Cup without visiting Ghana”, he said.

He was right. And here I am, staying in his family home in Accra: meeting his parents, his bible study group and introducing The Ball to his undergraduate philosophy class at the University of Accra — seeing his world and loving it.

Kweku's students are excited to sign The BallKweku’s students are excited to sign The Ball

Kweku, thanks for sharing an insight into your life with me and The Ball… and thanks for becoming part of our journey of discovery in Africa.

Cargo flight to Accra

DHL staff play with The Ball on the tarmacDHL staff play with The Ball on the tarmac
Cargo staff pose with The BallThe cargo staff pose with The Ball
The Ball co-pilotsThe Ball co-pilots
The Ball receives its entry stamp for GhanaThe Ball receives its entry stamp for Ghana

The Ball 2018 left England on 25th March 2018 and travelled to the World Cup in Russia.

The Ball 2014 kicked off from England on 9th Jan 2014 and headed to the World Cup in Brazil.

The Ball 2010 left England on 24th Jan 2010 headed to the Opening Ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Ball 2006 travelled from London to the Opening Ceremony in Munich, Germany.

The Ball 2002 was carried 7000 miles across Europe and Asia to the World Cup finals in Korea & Japan.