CAN 2008 will catapult our soccer into the future
Accra, June 10, GNA - Dr Kofi Amoah, Chairman of the Bid Committee for the 2008 African Cup of Nations has stated that the tournament has all the potential to catapult the nation's soccer into the future that everybody has been yearning for.
Dr Amoah said in an interview with the GNA Sports that the investment and the international focus that such tournaments bring along could lift "Us from our present stage to a level that can rival the leading soccer nations' of the world."
He said hosting of the Nations Cup would also bring along a cash injection of between the range of 100 to 150 million dollars into the infrastructure development of the country's soccer facilities, which has been starved of such investment for a long time.
Dr Amoah said cash injection would not only reinvigorate the soccer sector alone, but it would stimulate other sectors of the economy like construction and the hospitality sectors.
"Soccer would generate employment for many people in the economy in addition to the newly built facilities and help to unearth hidden talents that would blaze the soccer trail in the near future". Ghana would renovate the Accra and Kumasi Sports Stadiums for the tournament, in addition to the construction of two new stadiums in Sekondi Takoradi and Tamale.
The models for the new stadiums have already been completed and were unveiled on Tuesday.
He said the Committee has already received six proposals from interested investors who are willing to build the facilities on soft loan basis and all that is left with for the start of the projects is for the Committee to sit down and negotiate favourable deals that will be in the best interest of the country.
Dr Amoah did not give the names of the prospective investors but said they are from the United Kingdom, Norway, Austria and China. He said the hosting would likely rekindle interest of prospective investors in the country as it has one of the most liberal currency exchanges system on the continent.
Dr Amoah said all this would put Ghana on the international map and on a pedestal that everyone has been yearning for to use as the springboard to push the whole country forward.
"Do you know what it will be worth for the country when the whole world focuses its attention on Ghana during the three weeks that the tournament would be held," he asked.
"Tourism in Japan and Korea has gone up considerably after the two co-hosted the last World Cup and this is not figment of imagination for there is documented evidence to support it."
"It will therefore mean there will be more investors, tourists and international soccer scouts prepared to come down hoping to get the next Abedi Pele's and Tony Yeboah's to Europe."
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) inspection committee would be in the country from Friday June 11 to inspect facilities like stadiums and hotels before deciding between Ghana and Libya on who should host the tournament in 2008.
Dr Amoah was confident that the inspection committee would approve the country's proposals for hosting the tournament.
"CAF is not interested in already available facilities rather the ability to put up such facilities, hence the reason for awarding the rights to Mali and Burkina Faso when they had nothing on the ground to show off."
"We are lucky to have a President who has publicly given his support for the hosting of the tournament and that is an important part of the jigsaw puzzle that can sway the votes in our favour", he added. 10 June 04