FROM PREZ KUFUOR
I WELCOME all the players, officials, the media, football fans and the numerous distinguished personalities who are visiting Ghana on the occasion of the 26th MTN Africa Cup of Nations and wish them a memorable experience throughout the period of their stay.
Ghana is delighted to be the destination for the continent’s top football event, hence its determination to offer the best in terms of facilities for the tournament and a high display of the legendary Ghanaian hospitality to all.
Ghana 2008 presents yet another opportunity for the Black Stars to prove to the rest of the world their enviable performance capped by their recent impressive 2006 FIFA World Cup outing in Germany.
l have no doubt that they have what it takes to lift the trophy for the fifth time to do the nation proud.
President Kufuor also used the forum of the People’s Assembly in Sekondi last Tuesday to comment on the Ghana 2008 tournament.
“I urge the whole nation, particularly the four host cities and regions, to receive the visitors that the tournament will attract in a manner that will let them want to come again.
“I wish the national team, the Black Stars, well.”
John Agyekum Kufuor,
President of the Republic of Ghana
...THE LOC BOSS
I WISH every Ghanaian would realise that we are about to make history and that this history-making epoch will mark a turning point in the fortunes of our nation.
The signals are clear, the stage is set, the opportunities are begging, history beckons and we have to achieve our goal.
Let us reconnect to that great aspiration which was 50 years ago but never materialised. Whereas our independence ushered in political freedom for the whole continent, the emerging economic fortunes of our nation, once consolidated, will usher in economic and social development.
For us, Ghana 2008 is not just about football, it is about infrastructural development, it is about energising our tourism industry and, most important, it is also about selling our nation while we enjoy global attention, through Ghana 2008, as an emerging market and prime investment destination.
Therefore, let us use this football tournament to establish a solid foundation for our continued leadership in Africa.
I wish our Black Stars well and I pray that we will all plant our feet solidly in our rich soil and look up into the Stars so that, together with the Stars, we will bring Ghana glory.
I wish our visitors a very happy and enjoyable stay in our peaceful country.
I thank the President and every Ghanaian, especially my friends in the media, for supporting those of us at the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to serve our country through Ghana 2008.
LONG LIVE AFRICAN FOOTBALL
Dr Kofi Amoah,
Local Organising Committee
...AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE GFA
I WELCOME the continent of Africa and, indeed, the rest of the world to Ghana for the 26th MTN Africa Cup of Nations (Ghana 2008).
It is not for a joke that time, energy and resources have been invested in staging the continent’s flagship sports festival. We are proud to be the hosts of the singular event that has assembled the cream of Africa’s best players from across the world, as well as attracting the game’s influential personalities, including administrators and scouts, from even beyond the borders of Africa.
For us, we are also proud to be the providers of a stage that offers true sportsmanship and fair play to everyone participating in the Ghana 2008 tournament, whether as player, coach, administrator, fan or in any of the many capacities.
But, even on this platform, our ambition is no smaller than the ultimate target of winning the cup for a record-equalling fifth time. And we have a reason to believe in ourselves.
The Black Stars of Ghana have been worthy ambassadors, both for the country and the entire African continent.
We recall with pride the team’s debut appearance at the 2006 World Cup in Germany where the highly-fancied Czech Republic and the United States of America bowed before the elegant Stars, Africa’s sole survivor, at the second round.
The slogan of the GFA for this competition is HOST AND WIN. In pursuance of that benchmark, the FA embarked upon an elaborate preparatory programme to fine-tune the team. Since July 2006 when the Black Stars returned from the World Cup, we have played 12 matches — more than and above the matches played by countries in the qualifying series of Ghana 2008.
Our players have since shone in club football around the world and confounded the pundits in the friendly matches we have arranged in preparation for this tournament. The last lap of our preparation was the camping in Dubai.
The team is now well poised, with a defined focus on nothing but GOLD. There is a high level of unity, determination and commitment on the part of our players. There appears to be a lot of support from the media and the public. The government has shown an admirable level of support and commitment to the cause of the team.
While acknowledging the bumpy road to the perfection we desire and the harsh blow dealt us by the injury of Skipper Stephen Appiah, we are satisfied that we have a team and a technical staff who have shown both the capability and the commitment to brave the odds to triumph over Africa once again. And when you have a group knitted by a bond of camaraderie and a common focus on the ultimate, we can only wallow in confidence that the target is halfway attained long before the start of the tournament.
I am very optimistic that the grounds have been well laid to herald our crowning on February 10 as Kings of African Football..