President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo on Thursday, May 30, urged the senior national football team, the Black Stars, to end Ghana's 36-year Nation's Cup drought, at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt next month.
Expressing confidence in the ability of the team and its technical handlers to surmount that challenge, he appealed to the playing body to make the needed sacrifices to ensure that Ghana was once again placed at the top level of African football.
The President made the appeal when he met the players, management and technical body of the Black Stars ahead of their departure to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to commence their preparation for the competition that would be held from June 21 to July 19.
He harped on the need for commitment and teamwork on the part of the players, and the unreserved respect for the authority of the coach, Mr. Kwasi Appiah and that of the captain of the team.
"You have to respect unreservedly, the authority of the Coach and the authority of the Captain...that is basic rules, non-negotiable rules, if you don't do it, everybody would be going their separate ways. If you do that, you cement the team work and you would become a cohesive forceful force"
The President was insistent that the team ought to be disciplined, focused and united in order to win the tournament, saying that teamwork was at the heart of success in virtually every enterprise.
"Without teamwork you cannot succeed. Even a President cannot succeed without teamwork...you have all the authority but if the people working with you are not prepared to back you up with their efforts and energy, you'd not be able to succeed.
"So teamwork is absolutely critical. You have to work for each other. Helping each other to win the trophy, that's the teamwork we are looking at", he said.
"Thirty million Ghanaians are behind you and praying feverishly...that the 37 years wait since we last won the cup would come to an end this year.
"Our record has been outstanding as a footballing nation, one of the very best on the continent... And the time has now come to improve that record," he told the team.
President Akufo-Addo assured the team that government would provide the needed support to enable it succeed in the tournament.
"I am determined to give all the support government can give to sustain you and give you the best opportunity to bring the cup home, he said, and assured the team he would personally travel to Egypt to watch their first match against Benin on June 25.
Dr. K. K. Sarong, the Chairman of the Black Stars Management Committee Chairman assured the President that the team was prepared physically and psychologically, and remained united for the AFCON campaign.
"I believe we have been given enough resources and it is up to us the Management Committee, the Technical Committee and the Players to do battle and bring honours to this country" he said.
Andre Dede Ayew, the skipper of the side, also assured the President that the team was ready and equal to the task and would make Ghana proud in the tournament.
The team leaves Ghana June 1, 2019 for Dubai to commence preparations for the tournament.