Vice President John Dramani on Sunday called on Ghana’s national team, the Black Stars, to guard against complacency in their bid to annex the ultimate trophy in the on-going African Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
“What am hearing all over is that, the big names in African football are not part of the tournament, and so it will be easy for Ghana and others, but let me remind you that those big names were eliminated by countries that are participating in the month-long competition.” He added.
Vice President Mahama made the call when he paid a day’s visit to the Black Stars at their Olympic camp in Franceville, Gabon to encourage them in their forthcoming matches.
The Vice President was accompanied by Mr Baba Jamal, a Deputy Minister for Information, Mr Roger Ansogwine, Chief Director at his office, officials of National Sports Council and Journalists from both the private and public media.
Ghana which is in Group D alongside Botswana, Mali and Guinea, would begin the campaign with Botswana on Tuesday, January 24.
The Vice President said the cup had eluded the country for the past 30 years, and called on the team to work hard to put smiles on the faces of Ghanaians at home and beyond by coming home as the overall victors of the tournament.
He said: “I am very hopeful that you will come back home with the cup, for you made us proud in previous tournaments and we all know that you can even do much better in this tournament by winning the ultimate.”
Vice President Mahama also advised the players against in-camp grumblings and petty quarrels as that could develop cracks and division in the team.
He said: “You are considered as one of the best countries to lift the trophy and we shall do our best by backing you with prayers and encouragement, but the last bit, which is playing will be done by you here and we expect nothing but the cup.”
He advised the Head Coach and other trainers of the Black Stars to work in unionism in order to achieve the common goal of winning the cup.
Coach Goran Stevanovic, Head Coach of the team, said morale in camp was very high, and with much more efforts, the Stars could come home with the cup and called for prayers from all and sundry.
“Every player here is in good form and shape and we will do our best to come home with the cup at the end of the tournament.”He assured.
Mr John Mensah, captain of the team, gave the assurance that they would correct all mistakes that denied them the cup in the 2010 tournament in Angola. and build on that to win this year’s tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
The Ghanaian community in Franceville were also at the camp of the Black Stars to assure them of their unflinching support for the team for the entire duration of the tournament. GNA