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Sports News Wed, 6 Feb 2008

Ministers "Serve" Black Stars

In a display of solidarity and motivation to the senior national team, six ministers of state yesterday paid a surprise visit to the Fiesta Royale Hotel where they served lunch to the technical team and playing body of the Black Stars ahead of their semi-final clash with Cameroon tomorrow.

According to the Education, Science and Sports Minister, Prof. Dominic Fobih, who led the delegation, the gesture was to make the team feel appreciated and inspire them to offer their best against Cameroon.

"The quarter-final victory over Nigeria was well received by the Cabinet and Parliament, so we collectively decided to send this delegation here to execute this very rare gesture," he said.

Prof. Fobih said dining and interacting with FA officials, the players and technical team was a good experience which he hoped would spur the Black Stars on to defeat the Indomitable Lions like they did to the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

Describing his mood after the lunch, the midfield powerhouse, Michael Essien, who will lead the Black Stars against Cameroun, obviously overwhelmed, simply said, "This is a great honour. We have never experienced this before and we are grateful for this gesture."

The Minister of Tourism and Diasporan Relations, Mr Stephen Asamoah Boateng, said he and his colleagues wanted to drive home the message that they were also ordinary people who shared the same passion for football as the people of Ghana.

"By temporarily relieving the waiters and waitresses of their everyday duties and serving the players lunch, we wanted the players to clear their minds of our supposed sophistication and unapproachable nature.

Yes, we are ministers but at the end of the day we are also ordinary people," he told this reporter moments after lunch.

The Black Stars Captain, John Mensah, expressed the strong belief that just like the President visiting the team twice to motivate them, the gesture would motivate the players to win their match with Cameroun.

Other members of the delegation were Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs; Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of Defence; Mr O.B. Amoah, Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Sports (MOESS); Mr S.K. Boafo, Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture; and Ms Elizabeth Ohene, a Minister of State at the MOESS.

Paapa Owusu Ankomah, a former Minister of Education, Science and Sports and Member of Parliament for Sekondi, was also part of the delegation.

Source: Nathaniel Attoh