(FROM: Daniel Kenu, GNA Special correspondent in Metz, France)
Metz (France), March 31, GNA - The Ghana Football Association (GFA) is close to striking a kit sponsorship deal with Baliston, a French sports manufacturing company, to clothe the Black Stars, Black Meteors (the Olympic soccer team) and possibly the under-17 team until 2006. The GFA Chairman, Mr Ben Koufie and Mr O. B. Amoah, GFA Executive Member and Chairman of the Black Stars Management Committee, held preliminary talks with officials of the French Company hours before the Ghana-Metz international friendly match at the Stade Municipal in Metz and hopefully contractual documents would be presented for study in a fortnight.
Among some of the FA's proposals to be considered, are the payment of the teams winning bonuses and the sale of replica jerseys to raise money for the national teams. Mr Koufie told the GNA Sports in Metz after the talks that the Association was also considering proposals from Lotto and Nike but said Baliston looked more eager to seal a deal. "The FA wants the best for the nation and we will only consider the one which is best for our teams", he said.
Currently, Baliston is the kit sponsor of the Malian national soccer team and was once the main sponsors of Algeria. The French company also sponsors a number of French first division teams and has plans now to capture the African market, especially the West African Market.
Both the GFA and Baliston seem to have agreed on a number of issues except the payment of the salary of the Head Coach, Mariano Barreto. Should the deal go through, the FA intends to put in place a special programme to organise credible national supporters groups in the regional capitals to be used as conduits for the sale of replica jerseys. Plans are also afoot to enter into an agreement with the breweries so that should all go well they would purchase the replica jerseys in large quantities and then emboss their company's logo along side that of the manufacturers for resale.