The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif has called on Corporate Institutions and Ghanaians to rally and support the National Football team, Black Stars as they campaign for the 2021 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroun.
The Minister, making a statement on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday 14th December, 2021 to lobby support for the Black Starts and other national football teams said, all must support the national team so they can focus towards their preparation and participation to deliver the trophy for Ghana.
“Mr. Speaker, it will be 40 years since we last won the AFCON trophy and this is the opportunity for us to prepare our team to ensure that we are united as one country behind the team as they go to Cameroon on the AFCON campaign,” he said.
He reminded the House that from 9th January to 9th February 2022, Ghana would be at ‘war front’ where the national team, Black Stars would go into ‘battle’ with the rest of African nations in the 2022 AFCON with the aim of ending the 40-year ‘hunger’ of the continental trophy but this needs a united front and support by all to achieve the success the country craves for.
“Mr. Speaker, this dream of ours can only be realized through a united approach to the tournament,” the Minister noted.
Mr. Ussif used the opportunity to call all to support the Black Stars as they make another effort to win the AFCON trophy for the fifth time, reminding Ghanaians that since 2008 when Ghana hosted the African cup of Nations, and Black Stars came close to the trophy.
“Mr. Speaker the team made it to the semi-finals in 2008, qualified for the final in 2010, and lost to the winners, Egypt by a lone goal. They made it to the semi-final again in 2012 and 2013, and got to the final again in 2015 and lost to Ivory Coast on penalties. In 2017, Ghana lost to Cameroon in the semi-finals”, he stated.
Courting support from the corporate institutions, Mr. Ussif thanked the corporate bodies who have so far supported the national teams, and asked those who are yet to do so to come on board.
He said, “I will also use this opportunity to thank the corporate bodies or institutions on behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the support they’ve given us.
“And I use the opportunity to thank cooperate institutions who have supported and also ask those who are yet to fulfill their pledges and who are yet to support us to do so because we have so many international assignments awaiting us come 2022,” he added.
It may be recalled that President Akufo-Addo organized a breakfast meeting on a ‘Presidential Fundraising’ for the Black Stars and other national teams, which according to the Sports Minister, has so far raised USD$2million out of the Ministry’s target of USD$25.
“We have the world qualifier to complete and be able to participate in Qatar. We also have women U20 world up in Costa Rica and Women under U17 World Cup in India and also Bellingham the Commonwealth Game to participate in”, he stated.
“So next year is a very busy year for mother Ghana, as far as sports is concerned”, he added.
The Minister concluded by pleading with corporate institutions and bodies in Ghana to support the national teams as they embark on international assignments come next year.