Winning the World Cup must be a national endeavour - JAK
Accra, Jan. 6, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Friday rallied the nation to come together and support the national team, the Black Stars, to win the coveted and highly sought-after FIFA World Cup trophy in Germany.
"We must bring the golden fleece of soccer to Ghana, and this must be seen as a national endeavour."
"Happily, I have noticed that some of our youth are already wearing the supporters' T-Shirts. I congratulate them for this show of solidarity towards the national team and encourage the whole nation to rally behind the Black Stars and cheer them to victory."
President Kufuor said this when he unveiled the solid gold trophy at the Accra International Conference Centre amidst fanfare to begin its worldwide tour.
Ghana happens to have had the unique opportunity of being the first stop of the 28-nation tour and for two days the people would be privileged to take a closer look at the Cup, which is scarcely seen outside countries that win it.
President said the historic and memorable event would in no doubt whip up the national enthusiasm for the up-coming football's most prestigious tournament.
"I assure the Black Stars that emotionally and spiritually, the entire nation will accompany them to Germany to win the highly coveted trophy."
President Kufuor said the role of soccer had gone beyond merely providing entertainment for both players and spectators adding that it had assumed a dimension of big time business, giving employment to thousands of people.
"But perhaps, even more importantly, soccer is proving to be a powerful tool for peace building, unity, globalization and development. "This is why this Government is investing so much effort in its advancement."
He said Ghana's participation in the World Cup offered an excellent opportunity not only to market the country and showcase its investment potential but provided the platform for the players to compete at the highest level of the game while the people enjoyed maximum entertainment and fulfilment.
President Kufuor expressed Ghana's gratitude to Coca-Cola for making the trophy's tour of the country possible and the support to the nation's soccer as well as the Black Stars' qualification for Germany 2006.
He announced the appointment of the celebrated national football star, Abedi Ayew Pele, as the President's special representative on Ghana World Cup Tournament Planning Committee and invited the other members to work with him to ensure the success of the national team. Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Education and Sports, said Ghana was going to Germany to make a name.
He expressed optimism that the Black Stars would make it to the finals where they would possibly meet with Germany and eventually, win the trophy.
Mr Lawrence M. Drake, Division President of Coca-Cola Nigeria and Equatorial Africa, said his company's new global marketing platform - We All Speak Football - was aimed at bringing peoples together and set aside their differences, as a way of making the world a little bit better.
He noted that there was no single sport that spoke to the world like football and hence their association with it.
In a welcoming address, Mr Philippe Ayivor, Franchise Director of the Company for Equatorial Africa Territory, said 2006, which had just begun was shaping up as a year of firsts for Ghana.
He mentioned the FIFA World Cup Trophy tour and the Black Stars first time qualification for the World Cup tournament. "And dare I predict, the first time Ghana wins the World Cup. This trophy that you are seeing here is coming back here with our Stars after July".