Liverpool's imminent first trip to South Africa for 19 years may have grabbed the headlines on Monday but it's another African nation that comes under the Global LFC spotlight this week.
Meet Aristo Dotse, a sports journalist from Ghana, who grew up idolising John Barnes...
Name: Aristo Dotse Age: 31 City / country: Accra, Ghana Job: Sport journalist
Why did you pick Liverpool as your team?
Liverpool was one of the first of the English clubs to become really well known and popular in Ghana as a result of their dominance in the 1980s when Ghanaians began to watch anything on English football. That initial appeal has stayed with most of the people, including me, so it was so easy choosing Liverpool as my team. It came naturally as a result of the club's ultimate dominance in the late 80s with the likes of John Barnes, Peter Beardsley, Ian Rush and John Aldridge. Everyone in Ghana fell in love with them and most have remained Liverpool fans up to this day.
What's your earliest LFC memory?
My earliest Liverpool memory was as a young boy watching on TV in Ghana how Liverpool ruthlessly brushed aside opponents and won almost all matches with Barnes in the thick of affairs and Rush scoring and raising both hands in celebration. I still have the mental picture as if it happened only yesterday.
How did people in your country follow Liverpool's fortunes at first?
Liverpool fans in Ghana have great passion for the club and have very religiously followed the fortunes of the Reds since the days of 'Big League Soccer' on Ghanaian TV in the late 80s. Despite the Reds' recent up and down fortunes, the love for Liverpool has grown even more since the early 2000s with matches being watched live and regularly on African pay TV channel, SuperSport.
Was it difficult to find out news or see the match?
Until very recently, getting access to watch Liverpool matches and European football in general and getting news was very difficult but thanks to the arrival of internet and SuperSport all the games are live and news regularly flows in. Who was your first LFC hero an why?
My first Liverpool hero - and indeed that of many a Ghanaian, whether a Liverpool fan or not - was John Barnes. With Liverpool as the main feature on the then weekly football show on Ghanaian TV and Barnes being the star of their dominance then, he caught everyone's attention. So quite correctly, many LFC and football fans in Ghana grew up knowing Liverpool with the likes of Barnes, Rush, Beardsley and company. That's why when Barnes visited Ghana for the first time in 2007, as a special guest at a sport journalists' award ceremony in Accra, the official Liverpool Supporters' Club (Ghana Branch) presented him with a lifetime achievement award as the branch's favourite ever Liverpool player. The award, in the form of a beautiful African wood carving, was to show our appreciation to his role in the illustrious history of Liverpool Football Club.
What is your favourite LFC memory?
Without any hesitation, the 'Miracle of Istanbul' will always remain the most memorable moment for almost all Liverpudlians. It is surely my favourite LFC memory. Coming back from 3-0 down to score three rapid goals in 'six minutes of madness' - as Carlo Ancelotti put it - against a team like AC Milan and going on to not just win the European Cup but also claim it for good is always a special memory you can never forget. No wonder that the miracle in the Ataturk Stadium has found a special place in football annals as the greatest sporting comeback in history and one of the greatest ever matches football. It was all made possible by the Reds.
Who has been your favourite Liverpool manager and why?
Bob Paisley alone won three of Liverpool's five European Cups and he should be revered by any Liverpool fan. However, I admire Rafael Benitez, not because of Istanbul and Liverpool's fifth European Cup, but because he did a remarkable job of reviving Liverpool and making us great once again. He brought us back into the limelight of European football. He could and should have won at least one Premier League title in 2009. Under him, we became a force once again and played in three European Cup semi-finals in four seasons and ultimately two finals in three seasons. In the end, on a rather sad note, he spoilt the great job he did at Anfield.
What has been your lowest point supporting Liverpool?
My lowest point supporting Liverpool was when Xabi Alonso and later Fernando Torres decided to leave Anfield. Alonso, in particular, was a great loss and he has never been replaced. With Luis Suarez firing on all cylinders, you can never miss Torres, but Alonso is still missed at Liverpool.
Have you ever been to Anfield?
Anfield is the proud home of Liverpool and it is a privilege to have been there. I was fascinated when I first visited Anfield in April 2011 for a memorable stadium tour. Since then, I have been to Anfield on three different occasions, including watching the FA Cup match against Manchester United in January 2012, when Dirk Kuyt scored that late winner at the Kop end to send Anfield into wild jubilation. It was another great, memorable day for me as my first match at Anfield was a sweet 2-1 win against United of all teams. Not many get that opportunity.
Where were you while we were in Istanbul?
Istanbul 2005 still lives on. After overcoming Chelsea in the semi-final, I looked forward to the 25th of May for the final with great anxiety and it duly arrived. So I was one of the earliest people to get in front of the TV set in a friend's room where I met with other Liverpool fans to watch the game. But it was such a bad first half as Milan scored an early goal and eventually embarrassed us with a 3-0 first half lead that I gave up, with no hope for the second half. I remember telling my mates it was all over but unknowingly, the miracle was on its way. Steven Gerrard's header gave some hope which was firmed up by Vladimir Smicer's goal and suddenly belief for an equaliser rose, and it wasn't long until it came. Amazing! I jumped from my seat and did not know what I was doing. After 90 minutes and extra time, it was time for prayers for me and as soon as Jerzy Dudek saved Andriy Schevchenko's kick to confirm Liverpool as the champions of Europe once again, I stormed out of the room in wild jubilation with my fellow Reds and returned on time to watch the presentation and celebrations at the Ataturk Stadium. Our local celebration resumed outside in the streets after Liverpool's glorious crowning moment.
Do Liverpool have a passionate fan base where you're from?
It is amazing the number of fans Liverpool have in Ghana. There is the older generation of fans who were inspired by what they saw of the Reds in the 1970s and 1980s and the young generation who still cannot get over the events of Istanbul 2005. In all, Liverpool still have a great fan base in Ghana, despite the club not doing so well in recent years. That's why we formed and got recognition for the official Liverpool Supporters' Club (Ghana Branch) some 10 years ago.
Which team are considered Liverpool's biggest rivals in your country?
Without any hesitation, it is Manchester United. The love for teams such as Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and, lately, Chelsea is so strong and thus the rivalry and arguments - especially between Liverpool and United fans - are so intense.
Where do you go online to follow news about LFC?
Of course, www.liverpoolfc.com is the first point of call for Liverpool news online. Websites such as the BBC, Soccernet and Sky Sports offer alternative or additional solutions but Liverpool's official website is my reliable source of news on Liverpool.
Do you also support a local team?
In Ghana, I support Accra Hearts of Oak, which is one of the country's two biggest clubs alongside Asante Kotoko.
Who is your favourite current player and why?
Steven Gerrard remains my favourite current Liverpool player. This is a player who has done so much for Liverpool, sometimes single-handedly, and remained loyal and committed to the cause. The captain still leads by example - on and off the pitch - and is still the man for Liverpool, not taking away anything from the brilliant Luis Suarez.
If you could meet anyone connected to Liverpool FC - past or present - who would it be and why?
It is hard as there are many Liverpool heroes I would love to meet but I will settle on Steven Gerrard. As I have noted, Gerrard is simply a proud Liverpool son - a player who some consider Liverpool's greatest ever and one of England's all-time finest players. His special place in Liverpool's illustrious history is well assured.
What makes you most proud to be a Liverpool supporter?
The rich history and the greatness of this club make me so proud as a Liverpool fan. Liverpool went to sleep before waking up to win a fifth European Cup but up to today no other English or British club has won the European Cup even four times. This is significant. Liverpool now trail United on the league front but our European history will always count as a big factor in making us England's most successful club. No one can take this away from Liverpool.
Finally, what does 'the Liverpool way' mean to you?
'The Liverpool way' is what has brought us so much success and greatness as a club. As such it means a lot to me. This is a philosophy that Liverpool should be proud of and maintain to the highest standard.
Check out earlier interviews from our Global LFC Family series: