Accra, Jan. 6, GNA - "Whether they like or not, the World Cup is coming to Ghana," were just one of several "prophetic" words that heralded the unveiling of the 18 carat gold FIFA World Cup trophy by President John Agyekum Kufuor at the Accra International Conference Centre as it made its first stop on a 100-day tour across 28 countries and 31 cities.
President Kufuor himself did not mince words, when he said, "I can assure you that the cup will come back to Ghana after the July 9, finals" as he lifted the 4,970 grammes 36 centimetre high diadem in front of a packed auditorium in Accra.
An exhibition of true Ghanaian culture characterised by traditional chorography by the Winneba Youth Choir, rich Kente apparel by some of the guests and a remarkable Akan appellation were some of the colourful highpoints as some dignitaries thronged the auditorium to catch a glimpse of the trophy which will be n exhibition for two days. Coca Cola Company Limited, sponsors of the tour premiered a special documentary on the Black Stars dubbed, "From Dream to Reality", tracing the country's football history from oblivion to its successful qualification to Germany 2006.
A 3-D documentary on FIFA World Cup with a sampled interview of some elated Ghanaian soccer fans on the Black Stars' maiden World Cup appearance were also screened to the selected audience, including Parliamentarians, Ministers of State, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, retired and current footballers and traditional rulers.
A special award dubbed: "Break Down Barriers" was presented to Ghana's soccer great, the dibbling magician, Mohammed Ahmed Polo for using football to unite the people of Dagbon during the Northern conflict.
One of his high points was when he organised a special football friendly match in the heat of the conflict between the Nanumbas and the Kokombas to ease the tension.
Ghana is one of four privileged African countries including Nigeria, Tanzania and South Africa that would have a look of the glittering trophy of which the president was honoured to handle. President Kufuor, who was presented with a replica of the trophy by Mr Lawrence Drake, Divisional President of Coca Cola Nigeria and Equatorial Africa, noted that soccer was a powerful tool for peace building, unity and globalisation.
The President urged all Ghanaians to help bring backs the "Golden Soccer Fleece" to Ghana, which must be seen as a national endeavour. He chronicled some of the benefits that soccer brought including marketing the country's investment potential and affording the players the opportunity to exhibit their talents at a bigger platform saying, "soccer has gone beyond entertainment".
President Kufuor said it was surprising that having won the African Cup for a remarkable four times, the World Cup dream had eluded the country until now.
He assured the audience that "the Cup will come back to Ghana", indicating that the Black stars would win the trophy at their first appearance.
The President elevated Ghana's soccer extraordinaire Abedi Ayew Pele, as the President's Special Representative on the World Cup Planning Committee.
He later signed The Black Stars' Goodwill Banner followed by other dignitaries including Education and Sports Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, GFA President Kwesi Nyantekyi and Mr Drake.
The public would have a rare opportunity of viewing the trophy on Saturday before it leaves for Nigeria on Sunday. 06 Jan. 06