President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has challenged the national football team, the Black Stars, to win the Nation's Cup which had alluded the country for 36-years.
He expressed confidence in the ability of the team and urged its technical handlers to confront that challenge. He also pressed the playing body to make sacrifices to ensure that Ghana was once again placed at the top level of African football.
The President made the appeal when he met the players, management and technical body of the Black Stars ahead of their departure to the United Arab Emirates to commence their preparation for the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament that would be held from June 21 to July 19.
He hammered on the need for commitment and teamwork on the part of the players, and the unreserved respect for the authority of the coach, Mr. Kwasi Appiah and that of the captain of the team.
"You have to respect unreservedly, the authority of the Coach and the authority of the Captain...that is basic rules, non-negotiable rules, if you don't do it, everybody will be going their separate ways. If you do that, you cement the teamwork and you will become a cohesive forceful force."
"Without teamwork, you cannot succeed. Even a President cannot succeed without teamwork...you have all the authority but if the people working with you are not prepared to back you up with their efforts and energy, you'd not be able to succeed.
"So teamwork is absolutely critical. You have to work for each other. Helping each other to win the trophy, that's the teamwork we are looking at. Thirty million Ghanaians are behind you and praying feverishly...that the 37 years wait since we last won the cup will come to an end this year. Our record has been outstanding as a footballing nation, one of the very best on the continent... And the time has now come to improve the record," he told the team.
President Akufo-Addo assured the team that the government would provide the needed support to enable it to succeed in the tournament.
"I am determined to give all the support the government can give to sustain you and give you the best opportunity to bring the cup home," he said and assured the team he would personally travel to Egypt to watch their first match against Benin on June 25.
Dr. K. K. Sarong, the Chairman of the Black Stars Management Committee assured the President that the team was prepared physically and psychologically and remained united for the AFCON campaign.
"I believe we have been given enough resources and it is up to us the Management Committee, the Technical Committee and the Players to do battle and bring honours to this country," he said.
Dede Ayew, the skipper of the side, also assured the President that the team was ready and equal to the task and would make Ghana proud in the tournament.
The team leaves Ghana June 1, 2019, for Dubai to commence preparations for the tournament.
Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)