President lauds shining Stars
Accra, Sept. 6, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday congratulated the Black Stars for beating the Cranes of Uganda last Sunday at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi in the qualifier in the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
The President also commended their handlers for the sweet victory that has brought Ghana closer to realising the dream of making its first ever World Cup appearance in Germany 2006.
President Kufuor, who was receiving the Stars and their technical handlers at the Castle, Osu said, "The entire nation is grateful to you and the government will go to every length to ensure that the team is adequately and comfortably prepared for its last qualifying match against Cape Verde."
President Kufuor said there was no time for celebration and that Stars gird their loins together with their handlers to "ensure that we qualify."
"Cape Verde should not be a team to overwhelm us. I believe we would rather overwhelm them,", he added.
The President directed the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, to make sure that all players of the national team were treated equally when it comes to the payment of bonuses.
There should be no discrimination between the foreign-based and local players as this would not be accepted.
President Kufuor also told the country's football controlling body, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to avoid bickering and remain united and single-minded.
He said the Association should focus on the vision and mission to qualify Ghana for the 2006 World Cup.
Ms Elizabeth Ohene, Minister of State for Tertiary Education, said the "Operation Six Points" launched by the President after the Stars victory over Bafana Bafana of South Africa was on course.
She said Ghana already has one foot in the door to the World Cup and that it would take, "more than an earthquake" to prevent her from bringing the other foot.
"We are on track and believe that with your continued support, we would be in Germany."
Mr Kwasi Nyantakyi, Acting Chairman of the GFA, said the Association was now focused and more professional in doing things. He said it was that has enabled them to secure sponsorship packages of 27 billion cedis and 10 billion cedis from AngloGold Ashanti and Guinness Ghana Limited, respectively.
He said the Black Stars would not only be in the limelight of global focus but, certainly, would make a memorable impact on world soccer.
Mr Nyantakyi thanked the government for the tremendous financial and logistics support for the Stars and announced that the GFA has decided to induct the President to the Hall of Fame after the qualifier with Cape Verde.
The Stars Coach, Ratomir Dujkovic, said he was proud of handling the team.
Skipper Stephen Appiah promised that they would make the dream of participating in the World Cup become a reality.
"We do not have much to say except that victory is going to be your bonuses."
The GFA presented to President Kufuor a jersey of the National Team with the number 10 embossed on it.