A 400-man support base is set to follow the Black Stars to Ouagadougou when the Ghanaian national team take on their Burkinabe counterparts in their World Cup qualifying opener.
The supporters, being organised under the auspices of the National Sports Council (NSC), are expected to be drawn mostly from the five districts of the Upper East Region with a band of about 40 drummers, trumpeters and singers led by their organiser, Joseph Langerbell, joining from Accra.
Mr Issaka Hamid, Public Relations Officer of the NSC and the de facto chairman of the Black Stars National Supporters Union, told the Graphic Sports that the move was one of many being implemented to ensure the Black Stars' first-ever qualification to the World Cup.
The June 5 game in the Burkinabe capital will be Ghana's first in the nation's 12th attempt to reach the World Cup from a group that also has South Africa, Congo DR, Uganda and Cape Verde as the other opponents.Mr Hamidu said the supporters are being drawn from the Upper East Region mainly due to its proximity to Ouagadougou, as tied against convenience and the expected reduced financial cost involved.
He said “the importance of that game cannot be downplayed since the Black Stars need a good start to complete a successful qualifying campaign”.For that reason, he maintained that the presence of a sizeable support base at the match would be solid motivating factor that could spur the Stars to victory.
In fact, on no occasion has the four-time African Champions ever reached the global football festival although Ghana first entered the World Cup qualifying campaign in 1962.In pursuance of this objective, Mr Hamid said persons mobilised to provide support for the Black Stars in that game would not only benefit from the free transport to and from the match, but also have their gate passes paid for them.
While the large part of sponsorship for the effort is expected from the Minstry of Education, Youth and Sports, the NSC PRO disclosed that his outfit would still need the backing of well-meaning institutions to realise the agenda. Sports 1 Network, a sports marketing company, is currently in league with the supporters group to source for apparel and other paraphernalia for the travelling supporters.
Mr Langerbell, coordinator of the supporters union, asked for support from corporate bodies and individuals “to enable us put our voices at the disposal of the Black Stars”.Indeed, the effort is not a novelty but a tested one.
After absence from the biennial African Cup of Nations in three straight editions, the then Black Stars Management Committee found the presence of supporters a big form of motivation for the Black Stars and involved them in what became Ghana's qualification for Senegal '92, the nation's first since 1984