Between now and January 2008 when the 26th MTN Ghana CAN 2008 gets underway, Ghana must take drastic measures to resolve the energy crisis in order to avert embarrassment.
This follows the Confederation of African Football (CAF)'s endorsement of draft match fixtures submitted to it last month by the CAN 2008 Local Organising Committee (LOC). In view of the approval, all matches in the competition will be played in the evening with the first match of each day scheduled for 5pm local time (17:00 GMT). This means that all the matches in the tournament will be played under floodlights.
Therefore, measures being taken to resolve the energy crisis must be re-engineered to ensure that a solution is found to the power problem before January 20th 2008 when the tournament kicks off.
Otherwise, just as it happened during the CAF Under-17 Tournament in Togo, our stadia could be thrown into darkness, taking into account the manner in which lights are turned off even outside the usual load shedding hours.
It is also crucial to terminate the energy crisis as early as possible because all eyes will be on Ghana, waiting to see if we are capable of staging the best ever nation's cup fiesta.
According to a statement from the LOC, Mr. Moustapha Fahmy, CAF General Secretary said the confirmation of the draft fixtures was based on the African soccer governing body's confidence in Ghana's capability to successfully stage the tournament.
"CAF's approval of the fixtures even at this stage of the organization of the 26th MTN ACN Tournament has affirmed the expectations that CAF already has for a very successful championship to be hosted in Ghana," Mr. Fahmy reportedly said.
Meanwhile, the statement said CAF has also approved requests for the "celebration of Teams' National Days, as well as, the General programme for the tournament, including the timetable for the official draw (balloting) on October 20 this year.
Commenting on the endorsements, Mr. Magnus Rex Danquah, LOC Chief Operation Officer said they were "positively encouraging."
He noted "with such explicit confidence and trust continually being displayed by CAF in our ability to organize and host a successful tournament there is very little choice left for us other than to rise up to the standard the nation has set for herself, not only in the matter of infrastructure delivery and organisation, but also, and perhaps more importantly, in the overall commitment to present clean cities and pleasant people throughout the tournament."
In a related development, the LOC says it will soon launch the official website for the tournament to facilitate information flow to the large number of people who have interest in the organisation and activities leading to the hosting of the championship.
According to the LOC, the database driven website: www.ghanacan2008.com, already in operation, offers information on the LOC's composition, its Board members, the various sub-committees, its secretariat, and the various aspects of the preparation and organisation towards the tournament, including events line-up for the period preceding and during the tournament.
The website also has information on the participating teams, groupings, accommodation, match schedules, facilities, accreditations and security matters.