Accra, Oct 13, GNA - The Ghana Football Association (GFA) on Thursday 'out-doored' a three year kits sponsorship deal with German Sport equipment manufacturers, Puma in its bid to ensure that all the national teams are well clothed for international assignments. The deal worth in excess of 12 million dollars will take effect from January 2006 and would ensure that the world's third biggest sports kits makers produce jerseys and other sports equipment for the six national teams under the GFA.
Briefing the media in Accra on Thursday, Mr Kwasi Nyantekyi, Acting Chairman of the GFA said the deal which is going to be the catalyst to push Ghana Football into the pedestal that all have been yearning for over the years was clinched after meticulous screening of bids from five other kits manufactures.
He said the Association took into consideration the track record, value and quality of the equipment, the African experience of the manufacturer, marketing arrangements and a whole host of other requirements.
The Acting GFA Chairman said of all the bids submitted it was that of Puma that met all the strict demands of the GFA. Even though the acting chairman was scanty on the financial aspect of the deal, he said that Puma would pay the association 300,000 Euros as qualification bonus for the Stars qualification for the World Cup and the African Cup of Nations scheduled for Germany and Egypt respectively next year.
He said in addition to that, Puma would also pay performance base bonuses to the team during the World Cup and the African Cup of Nations, which would be graduated as the team progresses in both tournaments. Mr Nyantekyi said the German kits makers would also provide a thousand footballs annually to youth and women teams in the country as part of their development plan to assist in developing Ghana football. "Our referees and coaches will not be left out as they will also be assisted in the organisation of various training programmes to enhance their skills periodically".
The acting GFA Chairman said Puma would provide the platform for the marketing of Ghana football and its players' worldwide.
Mr Nyantekyi said as a first measure, the kits company would sponsor the production of a cheer song for the Black Stars, which would be in the form of collaboration between a local Ghanaian musician and an international artist to be aired on the 24-hour music channel M-TV. He said the sponsorship package would also include Puma facilitating other sponsorship agreements between the GFA and some German companies like Mercedes Benz and Lufthansa among others as a way of underwriting the cost of the Black Stars stay in Germany during their preparation for the World Cup.
Mr Horst Widmann, Vice President of Puma who represented his company during the 'out-dooring' ceremony praised the professional nature by which the GFA members went about the negotiation of the deal. He said his company would provide the top of the range equipment to the team, which includes over 70 items of Puma to each player ranging from T-shirts to perfumes during the African Cup of Nations and the World Cup.
Mr Widmann said his company just completed the designing of a new unique jersey for the Black Stars, which would be 'out-doored' just before next January's African Cup of Nations.
He said the new jerseys, which came about as a result of a partnership between two universities in England and German would make tugging very difficult as it expands in just one direction. "When the jerseys are 'out-doored', the GFA would be entitled to a percentage of any jersey sold which would be reinvested into the development of the game at the grassroots.
Mr Widmann said before the new jerseys are 'out-doored', mechanisms would be put in place to ensure that those who produce a fake replica of the jerseys do not get a foothold in the market.
He said Puma currently kits four of the five teams from Africa who have qualified for next summer's World Cup in Germany, which brings the total number of teams that would be wearing their products at the soccer fiesta to nine with three more of the teams still in the Europeans play-offs.
Mr Widman said with the exit of Cameroon from the next World Cup, the Blacks Stars are going to be the flagship team of their company from the African continent at the tournament as it is the team with the best pedigree.
Present at the ceremony were Mr Osei B. Amoah, Deputy Minister of Education and Sports, Mr Fred Pappoe, Dr Kofi Amoah and Allocious Denkabe all members of the GFA Management Board and Mr Ben Koufie, former chairman of the GFA Management Board.