President Nana Akufo-Addo has solicited the support of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of banks in the country for the senior national football team, Black Stars, as they prepare to participate in the 2022 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) and the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers scheduled to kick off in June later this year.
At a breakfast meeting with CEOs of banks at the Jubilee House today, Friday, April 30, President Akufo-Addo said the Black Stars under the leadership of the current coach, C. K. Akornor, is poised to make history after 40 years since the team last won the continental trophy, but they do need the help of corporate Ghana to do so.
“The target is to bring the cup home by winning the AFCON 2022. We must go a step further than our second-place finishes in 1992, 2010 and 2015 and end the 40-year drought for a title,” President Akufo-Addo said at a special breakfast meeting at the Jubilee House on Monday.
President Akufo-Addo at the same meeting with CEOs of corporate bodies called on them to assist government in raising a total of $25,000,000.00 for the senior national football team, Black Stars, as they prepare for the two tournaments in 2022.
President Akufo-Addo also tasked the Black Stars to reach the semi-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, having come mightily close 11 years ago when South Africa hosted Africa’s first World Cup.
“We must also reach at least the semi-finals of the world cup in Qatar. Our exploits in 2010, where we reached the quarter-finals in South Africa, tell us that once prepared, we have the quality and the talent to match any of the best teams in the world.
“The task might seem daunting, but it is exactly not insurmountable,” he added.
Qualification for the World Cup will start in June, with the Black Stars drawn against South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia in Group G for the second round.
The third round will see the 10 group winners from the second round drawn into five home-and-away ties. The winners of each tie will advance to the tournament.
The President indicated that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, government alone could not have raised the targeted 25 million dollars. He noted that government has committed to contribute $10,000,000.00, which means that corporate Ghana must assist in raising the remaining $15,000,000.00 to make the participation of the Black Stars for the two major upcoming tournaments in 2022 a smooth one.
“There is the national coach himself, C. K. Akornor, supported very much by Sammy Kufour, they are the young people spearheading our efforts.
“I think that if we are in a position to support them, I am very confident that they will bring back the golden fleece,” President Akufo-Addo said in his remarks to the bank CEOs.
Ghana last won the Afcon in 1982 in Libya and has played in the 1992, 2010 and 2015 finals but has failed to win the ultimate.
The West African country has already booked a place in the Afcon after finishing as Group C winners with 13 points.
However, coach Akonnor has been tasked by the Ghana Football Association to win the ultimate in Cameroon next year.
Ghana, meanwhile, failed to qualify for the 2018 Mundial in Russia after a shambolic performance in Brazil during the 2014 World Cup.