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We need a long-term, far-sighted approach to correct what has gone wrong in the Black Stars - Akufo-Addo tells GFA

Sports

2 months ago
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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has shared his thoughts on issues surrounding Ghana's national team, Black Stars in recent times.

He admitted the team is not ‘attractive’ anymore to the die-hard Ghanaians who have supported them wholeheartedly over the years.

"Mr. Speaker, let me now turn to football, a sport that is dear to the hearts of all Ghanaians. I am sure I disclose no state secret if I state that I am myself, an ardent football enthusiast – and once played in the University of Ghana team with my friend, the late President John Evans Fiifi Atta-Mills.

"Throughout the years, the national team, the Black Stars, has held a special place in the affection of Ghanaians. They lifted our spirits, as they dominated Africa, and won four (4) continental trophies. They have, at other times, broken our hearts. But it was not until 2006 that the Black Stars finally broke through to the world stage when they qualified for the World Cup for the first time. You would remember that we rose as one in our support and they did not disappoint.

"Then came the spectacular South Africa 2010 World Cup and its drama, when we almost became the first African side to reach the semifinals of the World Cup.

“It is fair to say that, since the sad events in Brazil in 2014, many Ghanaians have been left disappointed by some of the recent results of the Black Stars. Various attempts have been made to revive the fortunes of the national team and rebuild the enthusiasm of the people with varying degrees of success.” He said.

Addressing parliament in his penultimate State of the Nation Address, today, February 27, President Akufo-Addo urged the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to start a project to unearth quality talents for the various national teams. 

According to him, the Black Stars' performance at the just-ended AFCON in Ivory Coast was “unfortunate”.

"The recent AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire was probably the nadir of the performance of the Black Stars and has left the nation saddened. However, I am quite certain that the young men and the technical handlers would, themselves, have wanted to make our nation proud, and I believe that the captain, Andre Dede Ayew, meant every word when he rendered heartfelt apologies on behalf of his team-mates to all Ghanaians for the team’s early exit.

"Mr Speaker, I believe it is time for us to take a long-term, far-sighted approach to correct what has gone wrong. It is time to return to scouting, grooming and developing talent at the district grassroots level under a Presidential Policy on Football that I intend to unveil. The school sports department of the Ministry of Education will work hand in hand with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, in collaboration and synergy with the Ghana Football Association (GFA), to build district, regional and national juvenile teams for both boys and girls.

"The more than one hundred and fifty (150) astro turf pitches constructed throughout the country, under this administration, provide the
29 foundational facilities to make a start, as we strive to provide more of them. We should see a steady progression of talent up the ladder from the junior juvenile teams to the senior sides based on merit, and nothing else.

“A similar approach has been tried before, under the five (5)-year football development plan, led by the late Ben Koufie, and initiated under the NPP administration of President JA Kufuor. It was under this plan that talents such as Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, John Mensah, Derrick Boateng and later, Asamoah Gyan and Stephen Appiah, were discovered and nurtured. The results became evident to us and the world. It takes time, dedication and patience.”

President Akufo is very optimistic that the Black Stars will bounce back to its good performance to make Ghana happy again.

“We cannot harvest where we have not planted and irrigated. I do not doubt at all that the Black Stars will rise and make us proud again.” He noted.

source: Theannouncergh.com