The CAN 2008 Ghana Bid Committee which has been charged with the responsibility to secure for Ghana the right to host the 2008 edition of the Africa Nations Soccer Tournament has met with the press to brief them and the general public on the current state of the bidding process. The 17-member committee has Dr. Kofi Amoah as its chairman, Mr. Martin Esuon-Benjamin its vice and Dr. Nyaho-Tamakloe, Mr. George Addo Kufuor, Mr. Ben Kuofie as members among others.
The committee has since last November 2003, fulfilled the first major requirement with the submission to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Secretariat in Cairo, Ghana's official bid document.
Mr. Rex Danquah of RexImage Consult introduced the Chairman of the Ghana Bid Committee for CAN 2008 who opened the function with an address.
In his opening statement, Dr. Kofi Amoah said the media houses had a responsibility to publicise the agenda of the bid committee to the people of Ghana. He gave strong reasons why Ghana should win the bid against South Africa and Libya.
He said Ghana had a passion for the football, the professionalism and the creative energies to host the event. He said the committee is made up of 17 strong members 50% from the public private sector and 50% from the public sector to ensure a cross section of expertise.
He assured Ghanaians that the Committee has lobbied and is still lobbying with the executive members of CAF to secure the bid for the games.
He asked media houses to buy into it, to question, to hold accountable and to be a positive and proactive partner in all of this. He said the media houses should contribute their quota to educate the masses on what they were doing and how it could affect the lives of Ghanaians.
He said they were also open to suggestions for the enhancement of the bidding process.
Alhaji Rashid Bawa, the Minister for Youth and Sports, who has been a strong supporter of the Ghana Bid Committee said the Government has released 200,000 dollars for the work of the committee and the secretariat has already started functioning.
He said the first Vice John Meme has visited Ghana twice, and they are in contact with all the decision makers.
He said the only shadow that hovers around the chances of Ghana is the lack of infrastructure as against the other contesting countries. He however believed that if the CAN was held in only developed countries, there would be a defeat of purpose since only some countries would enjoy.
To him the "rice" must be passed round so everyone would have a fair share. He said government had plans of building new stadia in Tamale and Takoradi and renovating the Accra and Kumasi ones to bring them to a required standard by the year 2007 so Ghana will in no doubt be ready to host the games.
He said the President wanted to redirect the vision of Ghana sports, one reason for creating and inaugurating the committee.
He expressed his utmost confidence in the personality and dedication of the committee and was sure they could land us the bid. He promised them the support of his ministry and said they would all work assiduously to make it a reality.
He assured the general public that government had looked through the documents presented by the Committee has fully endorsed it.
He said South Africa wants to host 2010 World Cup and 2008 African Cup so seemed to be "looking in one bottle with two eyes". It was only fair that Ghana be given a chance. He said immediately the Black Meteors started beating the South Africans both home and away they started losing because "we started convincing the world that we were ready."
He said after the last game of the Black Stars international teams started "knocking at our doors for friendly matches and the more we win at the youth level the more we prepare for the senior level."
He said "we should have a confirmation from CAF by June."
After the address members took turns in answering questions from the press. On the role of superstars like Tony Yeboah, Abedi Pele, Kojo Nfum and others in the whole process Dr. Kojo Amoah said "we had to use all the resources available to get the bid.
Abedi for example is seen as the nation's soccer ambassador and people like Kojo Nfum have already been contacted. A sub committee for CAN 2008 has also been created, all to help in the process." He said they will definitely use their advice whenever they needed it because they reflected talents that are necessary.
Dr.Amoah again said the designs for the new stadia are going to be modern and multi faceted ad will incorporate concessions to selling food items and drinks. He said they will be structured in such a way that patrons can move about freely.
He noted that there will be provision made for corporate lodges to meet the various needs of participants.
On the arrangements made in curbing social menaces like HIV, Mr. Esuon-Benjamin in his reply said that HIV especially was on the heart of every nation so Ghana would make the necessary arrangements.
He cited countries that were given 25 million condoms by some companies because of major sports events and was confident Ghana too could get that kind of help when the need arose.
On the issue of hooliganism and security the committee said they would work hand in hand with the security agencies in the country to ensure that things go on smoothly.
They believe everything would be properly connected so cameras will be able to pick up hooligans and trouble makers.
Bordering on coverage he advised all media houses to equip themselves so they could put themselves forward to bid for coverage. He noted that Ghana would need sattelites to be able to "show our matches all over the world."
Dr. Amoah in his closing remarks said that they will not have all the answers now but Ghanaians needed to ask all the questions, bring their ideas, suggestions and concerns to enable the committee prepare adequately.