President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has charged the Black Stars to bring the AFCON trophy home as the 33rd edition of the tournament kicks off in Cameroon today, 9 January 2022.
In a video message to inspire the team in Cameroon, to win the cup Ghana last won in 1982, in Tripoli, Lybia, President Akufo-Addo rallied the team saying that, “The task may be daunting but it is certainly not insurmountable,”
He said Ghanaians demand nothing short but glory from the Black Stars.
“Like any other Afcon edition, the Ghanaian people demand nothing short of ultimate glory from the stars. The pressure to succeed is understandably high because of our status as four-time winners and also because it’s been 40 long years since we last lifted the trophy. The target for you naturally is to bring the cup home,” Nana Akufo-Addo said.
“We have to go a step further than the second places recorded in 1992, 2010, and 2015 and bring the 40- year drought to an end. The task maybe daunting but it is certainly not insurmountable. I believe that in the current crop of players we have the talent to match any of the best teams on the continent,” he added.
The President said the Ghanaian team has been penciled down as one of the favourites of the tournament because of its sheer quality and, therefore, urged the team to “work to bring the prediction to fruition.”
He told the squad “you the current crop wear the jersey of the Black Stars, the same jersey worn by Ghanaian legends such as Addo Damptey, Ben Simons, Aggrey-Fynn, Wilberforce Nfum, Edward Acquah, Mohammed Salisu, Baba Yara, Abdul Razak, Opoku Nti and Francis Kumi.
“Wear it with pride, wear it with determination, be of one mind and spirit, and be united on or off the pitch. Whether you are in the starting 11 chosen by coach Milovan Rajevac or not, you owe it a duty to back and support wholeheartedly your teammates representing the whole nation on the field, that is how a fifth Afcon trophy for mother Ghana can be achieved.”
Turning his attention to the thousands of Ghanaians, who will be following the exploits of the Black Stars at the AFCON, President Akufo-Addo rallied the nation to support the national men’s team with optimism.
“now more than ever is the time to throw our unwavering support behind the team,” advising that “yes I’m aware that there are 30 million coaches in Ghana, however, in this age of social media we cannot allow any form of pessimism, especially in our comments to filter through to the team.
“We cannot directly or indirectly afford to break their morale. In the highs and lows, in good or bad times we must show the team that we are Ghanaians and we look out for each other no matter what. We can make the Black Stars a force to reckon with once again on the continent and on world football beginning with this tournament.”
The President reiterated his call to the team to “go for gold, go for the fifth Afcon trophy, we can do it, I know we can.”
The 33rd AFCON will be held from January 9, 2022, to February 6, 2022, in six venues in five cities of Cameroon.
The Black Stars, led by Milovan Raievac, are in Group C and will begin the tournament this Monday with a game against Morocco before playing Gabon and Comoros.
The team arrived in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on Saturday after training in Doha.
By: Isaac Clottey