Mr. Speaker, I was saying
that all of us should support the Ghana Black Stars. We have to pray seriously for them to win the tournament. We have to get them the needed resources to boost their morale, to sacrifice and then win the cup for us so that all of us will be happy. What is important is that whoever has the duty to ensure that they are given the resources should do so now. We want them to have enough resources so that at the end of the day, all of us will be happy after the tournament.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for the
Minister for Education, Science and
Sports (Prof. D. K. Fobih): Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to express my appreciation to the House and particularly my Colleague, the hon. Member for Chiana-Paga who made the Statement, for making the House aware of the progress made so far with the organisation of the
Ghana CAN 2008 Tournament.
I believe after this Statement has been commented upon in the House, the radio, the press, the media and all media houses that have something to do with communi- cation will take this matter up for general discussion and for sensitization as well.
Mr. Speaker, there are certain issues
to which I will like to address my contri- bution. This is because I know hon. Members who have spoken have said so much about this Statement. First, I will like to address the issue of the completion of the infrastructure. Ghana's ability to host the tournament was totally dependent on the completion of these infrastructural facilities as regards the stadia as well as the other supporting facilities like training pitches, evacuation areas, the access roads and other sanitation facilities like toilets and others.
Mr. Speaker, as I am talking now, Ghana
has passed the test and the comments of our assessment are such that Ghana is ranked as best to none in Africa in terms of the stadia that we have now for the tournament. In fact, it has never been the case in any African country to have such stadia for hosting this Ghana CAN 2008 Tournament. It is even said by the President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) that Ghana can be ranked among the best in terms of the stadia provision so far here. This is a com- mendable statement but something that I think we have worked hard to deserve.
Mr. Speaker, all the four stadia have been completed and we are taking over from the contractors on the 1st of November, 2007, which is today, except the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium which will be taken over on the 15th November, 2007 because of some works which are yet to be completed.
So far, all the access roads and the
evacuation area works have also almost been completed. The training pitches which were posing a lot of difficulties
for us during the previous visits of the CAF inspection team have also been successfully completed. What we are waiting for is the grass to mature before they are used for the tournament. So we can commend ourselves for having worked so hard to meet this high standard we have set for ourselves.
The second issue is about awareness
creation. Yes, I believe we are expressing our enthusiasm and concern for the tournament because we think we have not been sensitized well enough. The background to this is that this sensitiza- tion is a private-public partnership enterprise. The Government has its role to play but the private sector also has a role to play, particularly, the sponsors. And the information that we have from the sponsors is that it is a commercial enterprise and it has to be worked to the point where they maximise their gains; and therefore, there is no point for them to start the awareness campaign earlier than what they consider to be timely.
Therefore, they have planned it for the beginning of this month, which is today; they are going to begin intensively campaigning or sensitizing the public, advertising and giving all the necessary information that the public has to know about the tournament and work it out to a climax just when the tournament is about to start so that they can cash in as much as possible for their sponsorship.
I am aware that this plan is on the ground and even that Stanbic has already launched its campaign. I understand on Saturday Pepsi is also going to launch its campaign and this would be followed by MTN and all the others. So it is not as if everything is going to be quiet as it is. A lot of things are going to begin right from today, 1st November, 2007.
Mr. Speaker, on the public side, there
has been a roadshow and we are marching on with other similar events within this month. Indeed, on the 11th of this month, that is, a week from this Saturday we are going to test the use of the facilities at the
Ohene Djan Sports Stadium and the Ghana Under 17 team will play their counterparts from the Republic of Togo. This is part of the awareness creation that we have planned to sensitize people.
Then on the 16th of November, 2007 the Ghana Under 23 team will also play their Olympic qualifying match with Nigeria there, again, creating the same awareness. And we believe that from the 17th November, 2007 to the 21st November, 2007 the four-nation tournament will be played there to test the facilities to ensure that similar awareness is created and that the Ghana Black Stars are in a good shape for the tournament.
So Mr. Speaker, we have outlined a
number of activities beginning this month, to really sensitise the Ghanaian public so that people will maximise the benefit that is to be gained from it, especially the vendors, those who have merchandise to sell, food items and even to play host to most of the visitors that we may not even have direct contact with because they may come on their own.
Mr. Speaker, we are also aware that
there would be influx of people we probably do not anticipate. For instance, la Cote d'Ivoire is just a next-door neighbour to the stadium in the Western Region and since we have the la Cote d'Ivoire team playing there, then it is just a walking distance to many of the sports enthusiasts. So we expect influx of more people and we are taking care that the security authorities will also ensure that the peace will be maintained and the visitors will be welcomed by the Western Regional Co-ordinating Council as well as the people there.
Similarly, we have taken measures to sensitize the Northern Regional Co- ordinating Council and to also sensitize the public there that, as has been said already, the Upper East Region's population can