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05.07.2005 Sports News

Special package for Rackets -CORRECTION

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(EDS: The GNA Sports Desk on Tuesday, July 5, carried a story headlined: Government presents special package to Rackets. We inadvertently stated that the local tennis players were given 5,000 dollars each instead of 500 dollars. The Desk is recasting the corrected version of the story with emphasis on paragraph Two (2)). Winneba, July 8, GNA - The government on Tuesday gave the national tennis team, the Golden Rackets, a special package ahead of their crucial Euro-African Zone 11 Davis Cup play-off against Georgia from July 15-17. The two foreign-based players - Henry Adjei Darko and Gunther Darkey - who have abandoned their circuit programmes for the crucial match were each presented with a cash of 2,000 dollars while the two local based, Michael Nortey and Fred Egyir, each received 500 dollars. Ghana's highest ranked player, Adjei-Darko (432), for instance, had to forgo Great Britain "Futures" tournament authorised by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) although he was the number one seed for the tourney and subsequently had to be fined.

Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Education and Sports, led a three-man delegation including his Deputy O. B. Amoah and Dr Owusu Ansah, a Director at the Ministry, to make the presentation at the team's camp, Greenland Hotel in Swedru.

The visit took the team, including the Captain (coach) David Churcher by surprise since it was the first time such a high-profile government delegation had visited the Rackets ahead of a crucial game. Mr Osafo-Maafo pledged the ministry's support to the players to help them make a name for themselves and the nation.

He urged them to be motivated by the desire to play among elite tennis players in the world where they are likely to make big money. "We can't afford to lose against Georgia," the minister said, urging them to go all out to win the play-off.

Both Captain Churcher and number one seed Adjei-Darko pledged they would not fail the nation and expressed the team's appreciation for the support.

The team is currently without Number Two seed Salifu Mohammed who is expected to join his colleagues from his foreign based on Wednesday. Ghana failed to consolidate her Zone II position when she lost to Finland early this year and would have to beat Georgina in order not to slip to Zone III.

The team moves to Accra on Sunday to fine-tune for the big game.

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