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30.01.2006 Sports News

Zimbabwean ghost hunt Ghana

By GNA

...as she prepares to host CAN 2008 Accra, Jan. 30, GNA - Ghana seemed to have forgotten so soon that barely six years ago, she benefited from the inability of Zimbabwe to host the 2000 Cup of Nations (CAN). The reason assigned by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) then, was lack of Government support.

Subsequently, Ghana and Nigeria were given the right to stage the biennial Africa's soccer showpiece.

Originally, Nigeria was to have the sole right to host the three-week competition but, Ghana's lobbying skills and her organizational ability demonstrated during the African Youth Soccer Championship in 1999 (Ghana '99), roped her in as a co-host - the first ever to have happened on the Continent.

And just last year, this nation was given yet another opportunity to host CAN 2008, the third after 1978 and 2000 having surmounted an aggressive challenge from two other contenders including Libya. That feat achieved by a team of hardworking gentlemen including Local Organising Committee (LOC) Chairman, Dr Kofi Amoah; Operations Manager, Rex Danquah and Former Ghana Football Association Chairman, Alhaji M. N. D. Jawula seemed to have overshadowed the enormity of the task that laid ahead.

Indeed the LOC has set up a few sub-committees and handed over the sites of the three stadiums to the Chinese construction firm to build new stadiums in Cape Coast, Tamale and the Western Region.

However, it appears the pace of activities would need to be quickened if Ghana were to exorcise the "Zimbabwean Ghost". The LOC needs to fire on all cylinders.

Ghana should not delude herself into thinking that her soccer pedigree and good standing in the books of the Confederation of Africa Sports (CAF) automatically guarantee her the right to host the tournament come what may.

God forbid. What happened to Zimbabwe should never happen to Ghana, no matter the odds.

Fortunately, Ghana has what it takes to make things happen. She has astute political leadership in the person of Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the Minister of Education and Sports, who would have to do everything possible to ensure that Ghana hosts the event.

As a nation all the people should search within to identify the knotty areas and iron them out to ensure a successful hosting of this great event.

The media and the entire nation must demand regular progress report from the LOC and it must come out with convincing statement about the country's preparedness.

The men tasked with the job should cut down on some of their business travels and concentrate on the CAN. The task calls for a concerted effort from both those at the core and the periphery to ensure a non-stop work to get Ghana ready for CAN 2008.

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