Professor John Evans Atta Mills, former Vice President, has paid glowing tribute to the maestro, Abedi Pele, Anthony Yeboah and the late Alhaji Maikanoo whose sacrifices have sustained the nation's team building effort to the current enviable stage.
“Whilst celebrating what appears to be the best moment of the team in recent times, we must not forget the sacrifices of these men who in their time did their best in the midst of great difficulties.
“It appears that many of us have forgotten all about some of these great men who might have laid the foundation for the current Black Stars”, he stated.
Speaking to the Graphic Sports in his office in Accra, Professor Mills who is also the presidential candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress said the road to the current stage was once a difficult one , yet these men defied the odds and gave their services selflessly to the nation.
He recounted how in the days when he served as the Chairman of the Black Stars Management Committee and was constrained financially, the likes of Abedi, Yeboah, goalkeeper Edward Ansah and some of the foreign-based players were prepared to fly down to play for the nation alongside their local counterparts like Frimpong Manso, Emmanuel Ampiah and Emmanuel Armah.
“These players were inspired by a great sense of patroitism and gave their best when bonuses and allowances were low as compared to what the current generation is enjoying”, he said.
“Those were the days when the team was handicapped in a number of ways due to the harsh economic conditions”,he said.
He further called for a posthumous award for the former Welfare Officer of the Black Stars, Alhaji Awudu Maikanoo who, inspite of all the difficulties, managed to provide a rallying point for the Black Stars, saying he acted as a selfless leader, both at the time and for this present generation.
He was happy that his collaboration with Dr. Charles Mensah, a former CEO of Volta Alluminim Company, to introduce the Valco Schools competition helped to produce the likes of Michael Essien who have become key factors in the Black Stars.
Prof Mills, one-time Chief Executive of the National Sports Council, believes that the current Black Stars are quite a winsome side capable of realising the dreams of the nation at the Ghana 2008 competition.
“We all have to support the team to achieve that feat”, adding that he would be among the fans who will throng the stadium to support the Ghanaian team.
Story by Andy Quao & Samuel Ebo Kwaitoo