President John Dramani Mahama on Friday advised members of the national team, the Black Stars not to underrate any country during the 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa.
“There are no minnows in football now and I want to advise you not to take any country for granted as they could end up surprising you,” he added.
President Mahama gave the advice when the playing body and technical team of the Black Stars called on him at the Osu Castle.
The team that would be leaving the shores of Ghana to embark on their camping ahead of the 2013 Afcon in South Africa was at the Castle to announce their departure to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where they would play two friendly matches with Egypt and Tunisia.
President Mahama said football is a global game that had kept Ghanaians together at all times and appealed to the players to raise their performance that would once again place the citizenry at the same identical level.
“The best things that you can do to honour your country is by dying a little bit to bring the African Cup once again to make all of us proud of you,” he added.
President Mahama said government would in the next four years invest massively on sporting activities especially the lesser known disciplines to enable more Ghanaians to bring home medals after every international sporting tournament.
The investment which would be started from the basic and senior high levels, would also help to unearth talents and provide jobs for so many people, especially the youth, he explained.
He promised to work with Ghana Football Association and other associations to ensure that all sporting disciplines are covered.
President Mahama who also signed ‘the protect the goal’ project, which the United Nations AIDS is using to educate the public on protection against HIV and AIDS appealed to the players to be ambassadors of the campaign..
Mr Clement Kofi Humado, Minister of Youth and Sports said the Ministry had put in all the financial commitments that would make the team comfortable in the tournament.
He said the mistakes that denied the team the cup last year had been corrected and the players were psychologically and physically prepared to bring the gold that had eluded the country for the past 31 years.
He said the Ministry was unable to increase the allowances of players and technical team on account of the back to back tournament held last year.
Asamoah Gyan, Captain of the Black Stars said the entire team is ready to bring back smiles on the faces of Ghanaians by coming home with the ultimate cup.
“We are ready to die for our country and I can assure all of you that by the end of the tournament, the cup will come home,” he said.