Sports News of Thursday, 21 November 2013
President John Dramani Mahama has congratulated the Black Stars on their qualification to the 2014 World Cup, and urged the management and technical team to build the team to win the cup in Brazil.
He particularly charged the technical team to build the tactical discipline and stamina of the players and also ensure unity in the team to be able to beat the highly ranked teams that would be represented in the tournament.
He assured the Black Stars of the government's resolve to provide the finance and logistics needed to enhance their participation in the World Cup.
President Mahama gave the congratulatory message yesterday when the management and technical team of the Black Stars called on him at the Flagstaff House.
The Black Stars secured their qualification to the 2014 World on the strength of their massive 6-1 first leg thrashing of the Pharaohs of Egypt in Kumasi despite succumbing 1-2 to Egypt in Cairo last Tuesday.
Before their clash with Egypt, the Black Stars beat Lesotho, The Sudan and Zambia.
The management and technical team members who were at the seat of government included the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, the President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi, and the Coach of the Black Stars, Mr Kwesi Appiah.
The players were not at the meeting as they had emplaned back to their respective destinations.
President Mahama said the Black Stars' third successive qualification to the World Cup had made Ghana a permanent feature of the World Cup.
He tasked the technical team to take the players through rigorous friendly training matches to prepare them for the ultimate in the tournament.
He said Ghana acquitted itself well in the last two World Cups in Germany and South Africa, and thanked the Minister of Youth and Sports, the GFA, the technical team and the players for diligently accomplishing the mission of qualifying Ghana to the World Cup in Brazil.
The President said Coach Kwesi Appiah delivered the results while the management team was also able to manage the boys well.
He said the players had shown enough dedication, saying that "we can give them all the incentives, but if they do not show dedication, they cannot go far”.
"Every single dollar that we gave to the boys, they have justified it," he stressed.
President Mahama again commended the Ghanaian supporters for their continuous support for the Black Stars, and indicated many of the supporters used their own resources.
He thanked the sponsors, especially the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and Guinness, for their continuous support to the senior national team.
Speaking on behalf of the management and technical team, Mr Afriyie Ankrah thanked President Mahama for his personal interest, support and motivation for the Black Stars.
He again recalled President Mahama's personal intervention to get the Ayew brothers back to the Black Stars.
Mr Afriyie-Ankrah said the President’s dialogue with FIFA on the security situation in Egypt ensured the enhanced security arrangement for the Ghana-Egypt match in Cairo.
In a short interview with the Daily Graphic, Coach Kwesi Appiah said he had welcomed the President's call on the team to prepare for a big showing in the World Cup.
"I believe that with the kind of players we have, with little support and encouragement, we will get far," he said.