I’ll be celebrating my 22nd VOA anniversary in South Africa next month during the World Cup.  When you work at any place that long, chances are, you’re going to meet a few interesting people.

As I look forward to the World Cup, I’m a little sad that I can’t share some of the World Cup excitement with VOA’s late, great “Gallant Ghanaian,” “King”Richard Kotey.  Richard died in 2003 due to complications from a stroke.

Richard and I sat right across from each other in our office, and when he was especially happy, he would break out into song.  And let me tell you, sports fans, Richard had a booming voice.  Richard often sang fight songs about his beloved “Black Stars” of Ghana, the country’s national football team.

“The Black Stars” made their World Cup debut at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where they were the only African team to reach the second round.  “The Black Stars” have high hopes of going even farther in South Africa.  “King”Richard Kotey did not get to see Ghana qualify for either World Cup.  But, I know Richard’s spirit lives on, and when Ghana is on the pitch in South Africa, I’ll be saying three words, “GO BLACK STARS!”