Accra, May 16, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor has charged the senior national team, the Black Stars, to fly the flag of Ghana high in the Germany 2006 World Cup tournament by putting up a good performance.
"What should motivate you, especially the players, is that you are playing for the nation and not money. If you perform, the returns will be beyond your dreams", he said when he received the Management Team, Executives and some players of the Stars at the Castle, Osu. This comes on the eve of their departure to embark on the World Cup campaign, football's most prestigious event.
President Kufuor urged them to let their abilities and talents to show on the field, saying be confident, resolved and play as a team. "You should not be pushovers and I assure you, if you do this, you will surprise yourselves."
He urged them to go all out for a win in their opening match against Italy and said if: "You are not beating Italy at least we expect a draw."
President Kufuor recalled the abysmal performance of the Stars in the Cup of Nations tournament played in Cairo in January, 2006, which, left most Ghanaians downcast and said he was happy that the Management and Handlers went back to the drawing board to re-strategise and re-package the team.
He also had a word of advice for the Serbian Coach, Mr Ratomir Djukovic; saying: "You should go believing that you are sending a top team to the competition, which happens to be the toughest and fiercest."
President Kufuor said if the team should win the Cup, the name of the coach and the players would be immortalised in gold and urged him to let the players feel his presence, encouragement and motivation. "At this stage, we can only pray that the Good Lord protects and fills you with strength and intelligence."
Paapa Owusu-Ankomah, Minister of Education, Science and Sports, said the Stars qualification to play in Germany against all odds attested that "there is nothing Ghanaians cannot do if we all put our hearts on it".
The President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Kwasi Nyantakyi said the team had been overhauled and strengthened and was confident that they would make a good impression.
"I assure you, we will do well. We will not disgrace you and make the huge financial investment go to waste."
John Mensah, who acted as Spokesperson of the players, said: "We will not disgrace ourselves."