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07.07.2004 Football News

CAN 2008 key to Ghana's soccer renaissance - Barreto

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Accra, July 7, GNA - Mariano Barreto, head coach of the senior national team, Black Stars has stated that hosting of the 2008 Nations Cup holds the key to Ghana's soccer renaissance.

In an interview with GNA Sports, the national team coach said hosting of the fiesta would afford the Nation the opportunity to put up the needed infrastructure that would ensure the development of the game from the grassroots.

"This is because a lot of good training pitches would have to be put up in all the centres that would host matches and that would afford the youth all over the country with the opportunity to use the facilities to harness their talent after the tournament", he said. The coach said with the pitches in place, all that should be done is to whip up the interest of the young ones who are already eager to play the game and with the right guidance they would blossom into the stars of the future.

"I have always stressed that this country does not need a lot of foreign coaches since they do not have any magic wand up their sleeves." With the right guidance from the many talented old stars around, it would not be long for them to start maturing."

Coach Barreto added that, "I am glad that the country is bidding and I pray that it wins the slot since that would force the hands of the authorities to build the facilities that have over the years been left to rust."

He said the clubs would also benefit tremendously with the talents that they urgently require so as to ensure they compete favourably with their established teams on the continent.

Coach Barreto said in addition to unearthing more talents for the teams, the expansion works on the stadiums would ensure that the clubs make more money to buy experienced players to strengthen their teams. On Thursday the Confederation of African Football (CAF) would name the country to host the 2008 African Cup of Nations at its headquarters in Cairo, Egypt.

Ghana is in a two-way contest with Libya for the right to host the competition after the withdrawal of South Africa after getting the nod from FIFA world soccer governing body to host the World Cup in 2010. If Ghana gets the nod, it would be the third time it would host the tournament after first hosting it in 1978 and following it by co-hosting with Nigeria in 2000 after the Tournament was taken away from Zimbabwe for failing to get the endorsement of the government for the tournament.

Ghana has already sent a high-powered delegation, including two Ministers of State to Cairo to present its final bidding documents for the right to host the competition.

The delegation led by Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Alhaji Rashid Bawa, Minister of State responsible for Youth and Sports and Dr Kofi Amoah, head of the country's bidding committee.

Other members who made the trip are Dr Nyaho Nyaho-Tamakloe, Chairman of the Ghana Football Association, Mr Kofi Nsiah, General Secretary of the GFA and Mr Van Lare Dosoo and Mr Martin Eson Benjamin, first and second Vice Chairmen of the Bid Committee.

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