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14.12.2005 Sports News

Black Stars on course in World Cup preparations - Osafo-Maafo

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Accra, Dec. 14, GNA - Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Education and Sports, on Wednesday said the German government had offered the Ghana Black Stars a 10-day free stay in Germany towards their preparation for the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany. He said other European countries were also in the process of offering the senior national team similar packages. Mr Osafo-Maafo said this when contributing to a statement made by Mr Joe Baidoo-Ansah, NPP Effia-Kwesmintim, in commemoration of Africa Sports Day in Parliament.

The Sports Minister said other corporate organisation such as the Ghana Commercial Bank, Areeba and other organisations were also supporting the Black Stars in their preparations. He said the Black Stars would come out successful even though they were in tough group because they were disciplined and committed to the game. Mr Osafo-Maafo said Ghana should now use football as a bait to attract tourists into the country. He said the original golden cup of the world cup finals was expected to go round the world with Ghana being the first stop on January 6 and January 7 2006. He said the golden cup would be displayed at the Accra International Conference Centre for people to have a view, adding that although tickets to the event were prepaid Members of Parliament would have free entry.

On the preparation for CAN 2008, the Minister said two new stadiums were being built and it was expected that serviced sites would be handed over to the company in charge of the new stadiums to begin work on the projects. Mr Abuga Pele, NDC-Chiana-Paga, said it was not enough to qualify for the world cup but the country should put more resources into the game of football and lay a firm foundation for juvenile soccer to enable Ghana to compete with nations such as Brazil. He urged the Sports Ministry to communicate with the public through the media regularly on preparation towards CAN 2008 to avoid speculations.

Mr Alban Bagbin, the Minority Leader, said some Members of Parliament in the German legislature were looking forward to Ghana meeting Germany in the finals. He urged the Black Star team and supporters to conduct themselves well when they go to Germany next year in order to increase respect accorded to Ghana by other countries. Mr Baidoo-Ansah in presenting his statement commended the Sports Ministry, the players of the national team and others who contributed to Ghana's qualification to the world cup. He touched on other sporting disciplines such as athletics and hockey and invited the House to commend the Sports Ministry and other sporting associations "for excellent performance" and for raising the flag of Ghana high."

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