Sports Minister briefs Parliament on 2019 AFCON

Isaac Asiamah, Minister of Youth and Sports

The Government of Ghana approved more than US$6.36 million for the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019 tournament in Egypt, comprising of the training tour, main tournament and their related activities, Mr Isaac Asiamah, Minister of Youth and Sports has revealed.

In a statement on the tournament in Parliament, in Accra, the Minister said Ghana’s preparation, participation and determination to win AFCON 2019 began two years ago with the appointment of Mr James Kwesi Appiah in April 2017.

He was given a clear task to win the AFCON 2019 in Egypt.

Mr Asiamah also explained that out of the allocated amount, US$4,563,353 was expended from the total amount during the training tour and to the time Ghana exited from the main tournament.

He expressed disappointment that despite all the support for the Black Stars, the team performed below expectation.

Mr Asiamah also stated that his Ministry has called for a comprehensive report from the Normalization Committee by July 26, 2019, to find out what went wrong for the team in the tournament.

He said after the study of the report, major recommendations and decisions with regard to the way forward for Ghana football, in particular, would be taken.

Mr Asiamah further explained that as part of measures to boost the morale of team, the Ministry sponsored Ghanaian supporters to Egypt to support them. The supporters were in Ismailia where the Black Stars was based.

He, however, debunked claims that the Ministry organized excursions for all the supporters, saying that, it was CAF and FIFA which organized excursions for the supporters of the participating nations in Egypt, including Ghana.

Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu in a comment questioned the prudence for the expenditure of US$4,563,353 on the team, which could only get to the one-sixteenth stage, compared to 2017 when the team got to the semi-final with an amount US$3.6 million.

He called for the breakdown of the figures presented by the Minister to ensure transparency in the use of public funds, as he insisted on a comprehensive overhaul of the football administration in the country.

Mr Ablakwa requested that the Minister should provide the House with a Plan of action on how to rejuvenate youth soccer in the country, among others.

Mr Alex Agyekum, Chairman of the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture, in his comment, urged members to exercise patience while they wait for the report from the Normalization Committee.

He said the recommendations from the report would go a long way to bring the desired changes that Ghanaians want in the management of the national team.

He lauded the players of the Blacks Stars and technical team for a good work done, despite their early exit from the 2019 AFCON in Egypt.

Mr Ahmed Ibrahim, Deputy Minority Whip in his remarks, called for the reorganization of Ghana football with the aim of winning the trophy for the fifth time.

He said the problem with the Black stars is not about the use of local coaches but trainers who would be able to ensure discipline in the team.

He called for the re-introduction of Colts soccer and league in the country, which he said, was the training grounds for most of the players that feed the premier league and eventually the Black stars.

Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Majority Leader, commended the Minister of Youth and Sports for the transparent and accountable manner he addressed issues concerning the Black Stars participation in AFCON 2019.

He said out of the over US$6 million allocated for the 2019 AFCON, US$1.8 million of the unexpended amount is being returned to government chest.

He also applauded the team for their participation in the tournament and not disgracing the country.

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