The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has promised to fly to Egypt to watch Black Stars’ opening Group F match against Benin in Ismailia on June 25.
He said should Ghana qualify to the final, he would again be in Egypt to motivate the Black Stars to win the AFCON trophy which has eluded the nation for the past 37 years.
The President made the promise when he hosted players and officials of the Black Stars to a farewell reception at the Jubilee House on Thursday night ahead of the team’s departure to Dubai for a training camp on Sunday.
In his speech, the President announced the slogan for Ghana’s AFCON campaign as “The year of return” and urged the team to uphold it as they embark on the journey to the 24-nation tournament.
“The year of return”, that’s your slogan of the year. This indeed is the year of return,” he stated.
“It’s my intention to come and watch your first match on the 25th of June. I will be in Egypt to see you play and if with God’s grace, which I believe he will give us, and we make the final I am going to come there as well and watch.
“I will bring you the support of the entire nation. So we wish you the very best of luck and, hopefully, the next time we meet each other it will be good times again for Ghanaian football. I know you are ready and crying for it so go out there and let our people also be happy. They have been moaning for too long and the time is now to lift their spirits,” he noted.
The President, therefore, admonished the players to respect the authority of the head coach and the captain to enhance their efforts.
“Two things I want to leave with you. You have to respect unreservedly the authority of the coach and the authority of the captain; that’s basic, non-negotiable rules. You have to respect the authority of the coach and the authority of the captain.
“If you don’t do it everybody will be going in their different ways. When you do that you cement the teamwork and you become a cohesive and forceful force. I have no doubt that you are amongst the best players on the continent of Africa and the world,” he said.
The President was hopeful that the Black Stars would win the nation’s fifth AFCON title in Egypt so he would host the team again at the same venue on their return home with the enviable trophy.
Present at the ceremony included government functionaries, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Isaac Asiamah, and his deputy, Perry Okudjeto, Black Stars Management Committee members led by Dr Kofi Kodua Sarpong, Coach Kwesi Appiah and his technical team, skipper Andre Dede Ayew and some members of the Black Stars, as well as a section of the national teams supporters group who lighted the place with some cheer songs.