Soccer News of Monday, 19 May 2014
Ghana's charismatic former President Jerry John Rawlings has backed the Black Stars of Ghana to shake the rest of the football world in Brazil this summer and lauded the ''One Ghana'' for Black Stars campaign.
The outspoken elder statesman posed with the beautifully crafted One Ghana t-shirts that will soon be out on sale for Ghanaians to purchase insisting that he has full confidence in the team regardless of their formidable group opponents. He revealed that he has been monitoring developments since Ghana qualified and is disappointed by the level of bad press associated with Ghana’s World Cup campaign. JJ as he is affectionately called believes that the whirlwind of support for the team has been disappointingly slow ahead of Brazil because of the media's obsession for negative news and sensationalism.
'' Somehow, some people have deliberately confused nationalism with partisan issues and refuse to wholeheartedly support the team or the people who have been entrusted to prepare the team for success in Brazil which is totally misplaced''.
President Rawlings also cautioned the media in Ghana to take a cue from their counterparts in the West who always rally around their national teams and sportsmen but reserve criticisms until after the battles with opponents from other countries. ''When we go into battle, we must do so as one united unit and not divided ranks''
In the exclusive interview to be aired on Supersport as part of the World Cup Countdown series and conducted by Yaw Ampofo-Ankrah, ex-President Rawlings paid glowing tribute to Bukom Banku and Ayittey Powers for bringing the spark back into boxing even though at times their out of ring banter threatened to spill over. ''In boxing, these things happen but they must always be controlled by the promoters so as not to get out of hand''. The interview also captures the former Ghanaian President recounting his first ever encounter with the legendary Muhamed Ali when he toured Ghana and visited Achimota School as well as the early days of Azumah Nelson when he trained with the Ghana Armed Forces boxing team before turning professional. Meanwhile as part of efforts to get the whole country to rally around the team, the Minister of Youth and Sports Hon Elvis Afriyie Ankrah has called on Ghanaians to start dressing themselves, their vehicles, homes and offices in red, gold and green.
''We all know that the President ensured the Black Stars qualification was a success through his constant and unflinching support for the team and now he is determined to make this World Cup the biggest national project to unite every Ghanaian everywhere behind the team with the One Ghana slogan''
The One Ghana Countdown aims at creating the most exciting and biggest support campaign for the Black Stars of Ghana ever witnessed in Ghana and abroad before, during and after Brazil 2014.
On Thursday 22nd May, President Mahama will host the Black Stars and their management to a farewell dinner at the State Banquet Hall followed by a farewell football match on Friday at the Accra Sports Stadium.