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'It's Time to Return to Grooming and Developing Talents at the Grassroots Level' - Akufo-Addo on Plans to Revive Sports

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has raised concerns about the decline in Ghana's Sports.

The President, in his State of the Nation Address before Parliament on Tuesday, February 27, bemoaned the early exit of the Black Stars from the just-ended African Cup of Nations (AFCON) which saw the elephants of Ivory Coast lifting the trophy.

"It is fair to say that, since the sad events of Brazil 2014, many Ghanaians have been left disappointed by some of the recent results of the Black Stars. 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.

"However, I am quite certain that the young men and the technical handlers would, themselves, have wanted to make our nation proud, and I believe that the captain, Andre Dede Ayew, meant every word when he rendered heartfelt apologies on behalf of his team-mates to all Ghanaians for the team’s early exit," the President acknowledged.

He, therefore, pledged to resuscitate the Sports sector and outlined his plans saying, "I believe it is time for us to take a long-term, far-sighted approach to correct what has gone wrong. 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. 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 one hundred and fifty (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. We 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," he further said.

The President added; "...the senior Women’s team the Black Queens who do not get half the attention the Black Stars get, have been performing quite creditably. They had gone for ten (10) matches without any loss until last December’s when they lost narrowly to Namibia in Windhoek in the final qualifying round for the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations. Even though they lost narrowly to Zambia in the first leg of the qualifiers for the 2024 Olympic Games, let us wish them well in the second leg to be played in Lusaka tomorrow, and hope they give us something to cheer about."

He also established it gives him "great pleasure to report that all the preparations are ready for Ghana to welcome sports men and women from around the continent to participate in the 13th edition of the African Games. It seems incredible, but this is the first time that Ghana will be hosting these games. It has taken a lot of courage to have persisted with the decision to host the games, especially when our financial problems came in the midst of the preparations. But I am glad we went ahead."

"The preparations are all complete, and I was excited and very pleased with what I saw at Borteyman when I went to commission the Games village some two (2) weeks ago. We have high class sporting facilities which should serve us well long after the games are over".