Muhammad Ali, the lyrical heavyweight showman who thrilled the globe with his sublime boxing style, unpredictable wit, and gentle generosity – especially later in life – died on Friday. He was 74. In the boxer’s final days, it is fair that his 1964 visit to Ghana may not have been top of his mind.
But he could be sure that Ghanaians would not forget that unforgettable period. Gary Al-Smith tells the story. Ghana was the place to be in the early1960s.
Any serious political leader or entertainer needed to see the nation that had dared to, with blood, toil – and with a certain brutally sexy panache – unencumbered itself from the might of British power. The newly minted nation of Ghana, formerly the Gold Coast, particularly attracted independence fighters, empowerment champions, anti-colonial activists and revolutionaries.
Adam Clayton Powell. George Padmore. Maya Angelou. Malcolm X. Martin Luther King. Richard Wright. C.L.R James. They all came. For many of them, it was a romantic trip. And so when, after several discussions with his agents and backers, Muhammad Ali settled on Ghana as his first stop on a planned Pan-African tour, it was no surprise. This was in 1964, a historic year in an Ali life that made every moment seem seminal.
On February 25, the loose-lipped Cassius Clay had beaten Sonny Liston, after which he screamed at the press “eat your words” following a heavy pre-match trashing of his chances. The next day, a calmer version of the 22-year old sat down at a press conference and informed the world that the rumours were true: he had fully converted to the Nation of Islam. And with it, the adoption of a new name – Cassius X.
Ghanaian player mysteriously dies in a pool
We can confirm that Niger-Based Ghanaian midfielder Salifu Okocha is reported to have passed after diving into a pool after a league game.
Salifu Yassana Okocha who plays for Nigerien side SA Fan is believed to have crashed his head on the concrete floor of the swimming pool after diving in it.
Reports are that Salifu Okocha died instantly after diving into a pool while he was with his team mates in Niger.
According to a friend of Okocha Hackman Abraham who confirmed the story, Okocha died instantly after diving in the pool.
Okocha was a member of the Nania FC side that won the MTN FA Cup in 2011 by beating Asante Kotoko in the final.
He also played for Wa All Stars and Tamale Utrecht Academy .
He hails from Sandema, in the Upper East Region of Ghana.
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