Black Stars will qualify - Osafo-Maafo
Accra, June 22, GNA - Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the Minister of Education and Sports, on Wednesday said the participation of the Black Stars in the 2006 World Cup should be the ultimate motivation for the individual players because that would raise their market value. He said the bonuses that were given the players after the Black Stars' matches against Burkina Faso and South Africa should not be seen as the only source of motivation for winning.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo was supporting a statement made by Mr. Joe Baidoe Ansah, NPP MP for Effia-Kwesiminstim, on the Black Stars' victory over the Bafana Bafana of South Africa last Saturday. Mr Osafo-Maafo said with the kind of unity and motivation that the Stars are enjoying, the Stars would win their next two matches to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
The Minister praised the coach for his competence and tactical approach to the game especially during the second half when he strategically changed the pattern of the game that led to the victory. "The Ghana High Commission in South Africa also did a yeoman's job by providing food and drinks to the team throughout their stay in South Africa."
"Ghanaian residents in South Africa organised buses to convey supporters to the stadium to give the Stars the necessary support." The Minister thanked Tarkwa Gold Fields for their financial support and appealed to other corporate bodies to support the national football teams especially the national Under-17 side, the Starlets, during their impending participation in the junior world cup in Peru.
Mr. Joe Baidoe Ansah in his statement said the splendid performance of the senior national team changed the mood of the nation and brought a new life into sports in the nation. He said the Black Stars significant victory is a step towards annexing the group's single ticket to the World Cup and must be celebrated by all Ghanaians.
"Ghana's qualification to the World Cup this time should be a must, for many have been wondering why, in spite of Ghana's strong pedigree in continental football, it has not been able to make it to the World Cup. "From all indications the management, technical handlers and the players are very much committed, dedicated and united in their resolve to make this long cherished dream of qualifying a reality." The MP advised against complacency and urged the technical handlers and the players to be cautiously optimistic and take the two remaining matches seriously. He commended the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the GFA for the high level of motivation offered the Black Stars.
"There is no doubt that the 4,000 and the 8,000 dollars given to each player for winning the Burkina Faso and South Africa matches respectively is highly commendable. "My only wish is that these well-packaged incentives should continue and if possible be enhanced to enable the country chalk more laurels. For soccer is obviously the passion of the nation."
Mr Osafo-Maafo said the construction of the Tamale Sports Stadium would begin by August this year. A site has been located; soil sample tested and now construction would begin in earnest. The Minister who was answering parliamentary questions said four sites namely Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi and Tamale would be used to host the CAN 2008. He said it is the intention of the government to rehabilitate and upgrade a number of stadiums throughout the country to promote the development of sports.