Accra, Jan 18, GNA - Mr Rashid Bawa, Acting Minister of State at the Ministry of Education and Sports, has asked the National Under 17 Team, Black Starlets not to entertain any form of complacency when they go into their final qualifier for the Africa Under-17 Tournament against Ethiopia on Sunday.
The Minister, who was at Winneba on Tuesday to have a word with the players before they left for Kumasi to prepare for the match, cautioned the Team not to underrate the Ethiopians as that could bring about disastrous consequences.
He asked them not to rest on their oars and think winning would come as a matter of course but should put in all they had to ensure a total and comprehensive victory.
"You all saw what happened to Kotoko when they played Hearts in the second leg finals of the Confederations Cup. I believe you all saw that they lost because they were complacent having drawn the first leg in Accra."
Mr Bawa asked them not to underrate their opponents because they were not among the big soccer nations on the Continent.
He said there was no easy walk over into the Africa Under-17 Tournament as the Ethiopians were also here to fight hard for the same slot.
"We all know that it is not going to be easy, but you have to stick to your coaches instructions and I am sure that success will crown your effort.
"You stand on the verge of making history as the first under 17 team to qualify for any major competition in this new millennium and each one of you should work hard to achieve that dream."
He said the Ministry and the Ghana Football Association (GFA) would do everything within their power to ensure that the team qualified but the final push depended on the players that would be selected for the match come Sunday.
Mr Bawa promised them that aside their normal winning bonus, the Ministry would also give special qualification bonus to every any player, who would have played a role in the team's qualification. Mr Kwasi Nyantekyi, Vice Chairman of the GFA, asked the players to forget about whatever happened at Addis Ababa and focus on Sunday's job, as it was now the most important issue at stake.
He asked the Team to be spurred on by the fact that everybody associated with soccer on the Continent was looking forward to the re-emergence of the Starlets, who were the torch bearers in the under 17 Category.
Mr Nyantekyi asked the Starlets to win convincingly to set the pace for the other national teams to follow as the match would be the first international match at home for any of the Ghanaian national teams this year.
David Duncan, the Coach, said the Team was ready to do Ghana proud by qualifying for the Africa Under-17 Tourney scheduled for Gambia later this year.
Emmanuel Ansong, Skipper of the Team, also promised that his colleagues would do all in their power to justify the confidence reposed in them by winning convincingly on Sunday.
The Starlet a fortnight ago, lost by two goals to one in Addis Ababa in the first leg.
The Starlets beat their Tunisian Counterparts 5-2 on aggregate to qualify to meet Ethiopia.