Monday, 15 April

I’ve no doubt the Black Stars will make us proud again – Akufo-Addo proposes a long-term approach to repair nat’l team

Sports News
He was, however, certain that the team, together with its technical handlers, had indeed wanted to make the nation proud at the just-ended AfCoN

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has revealed he once played football in the University of Ghana team with late President John Evans Atta Mills.

“I am sure I disclose no state secret if I state that I am myself, an ardent football enthusiast – and once played in the University of Ghana team with my friend, the late President John Evans Fiifi AttaMills,” the President disclosed during the delivery of his State of the Nation Address to Parliament on Tuesday, 27 February 2024.

Touching on the Black Stars' performance at the just-ended Africa Cup of Nations (AfCoN), President Akufo-Addo noted that “various attempts have made to revive the fortunes of the national team, and rebuild the enthusiasm of the people with varying degrees of success".

“The recent AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire was probably the nadir of the performance of the Black Stars and has left the nation saddened.”

He was, however, certain that the team, together with its technical handlers, had indeed wanted to make the nation proud at the just-ended AfCoN.

“I believe that the captain, Andre Dede Ayew, meant every word when he rendered heartfelt apologies on behalf of his teammates to all Ghanaians for the team’s early exit,” the President stated.

He further called for a long-term, far-sighted approach to “correct what has gone wrong”.

The President indicated: “It is time to return to scouting, grooming and developing talent at the district grassroots level under a Presidential Policy on Football that I intend to unveil.” 

He added: “The school sports department of the Ministry of Education will work hand in hand with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, in collaboration and synergy with the Ghana Football Association (GFA), to build district, regional and national juvenile teams for both boys and girls. The more than 150 astro turf pitches constructed throughout the country, under this administration, provide the foundational facilities to make a start, as we strive to provide more of them.”

According to President Akufo-Addo, the country “should see a steady progression of talent up the ladder from the junior juvenile teams to the senior sides based on merit, and nothing else,” emphasising: “a similar approach has been tried before, under the five (5)-year football development plan, led by the late Ben Koufie, and initiated under the NPP administration of President J.A. Kufuor. It was under this plan that talents such as Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, John Mensah, Derrick Boateng, and later, Asamoah Gyan and Stephen Appiah, were discovered and nurtured.”

He added: “The results became evident to us and the world. It takes time, dedication, and patience. We can not harvest where we have not planted and irrigated. I have no doubt at all that the Black Stars will rise and make us proud again.”

Source: Adiku