Madam Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to make this brief Statement in honour of our gallant Black Stars who are visiting this august House at the invitation of the Rt Hon Speaker of Parliament, after the World Cup tournament in South Africa.
Unfortunately, some of them have left
Ghana to attend to club issues abroad, that is why all of them are not here.
I wish, first of all, Madam Speaker,
to take this opportunity to thank His Excellency the President, Prof. J.E.A. Mills for his personal and Government's support, which contributed a great deal to the sterling performance of our national team in the tournament.
I also thank this august House, the
Select Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture, individuals, corporate bodies, Churches, Mosques and members of other religious organisations for their great
support for the team and nation during the tournament.
I wish also to commend my predecessor, Hon Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo, now Deputy Majority Leader and also my Deputy, Hon Nii Nortey Dua, for preparing the grounds towards the 2010 World Cup Tournament.
Madam Speaker, the Black Stars distinguished themselves not only as representatives of Ghana but also of the Continent of Africa, even though they were forced to prematurely exit the tournament due primarily to poor officiating by Portuguese Referee, Olegario Benquerenca, who turned a blind eye to the obviously unaccepted conduct of Louis Suarez, player of the Uruguay team that played Ghana in the quarter- finals.
I wish, once again, to urge FIFA to address this issue and other such unfortunate incidents that happened during the 2010 World Cup Tournament.
I also appeal to the African Union and the United Nations to ensure that the slogan, “Fair Play in Global Sporting Events” is actually observed and not remain a mere slogan.
Madam Speaker, it must be noted that the Black Stars are the third African country apart from Cameroun and Senegal to have reached the quarter-final in the World Cup history so far.
Madam Speaker, the incredible and impressive performance of the Black Stars in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Tournament has been acknowledged both at home and abroad. We enjoyed massive support
from the South African Government and people, other African countries, as well as from our compatriots at home and abroad, particularly, those who were in South Africa to cheer the team.
Special mention must also be made of the former President, Madiba Mandela of South Africa, and Mrs Winnie Mandela, both iconic figures in the Anti-Apartheid Movement, for hosting the Black Stars and the national team in their homes; the African National Congress (ANC), which is the ruling party of South Africa; former President Thabo Mbeki and former President J. J. Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu, also deserve our gratitude for their support.
Madam Speaker, we recognise the fact that during the tournament period, there was unity among Ghanaians irrespective of political, gender, religious, ethnicity, age or even educational background.
There was also a sharp increase in image building for Ghana across the world, which cannot be quantified in monetary terms but which will inure greatly to the benefit of Ghana now and in the future.
Locally, Madam Speaker, businesses picked up for the various media houses, night clubs, drinking spots, restaurants, ‘chop' bars and dealers in Ghana and Black Stars paraphernalia, all due to the impressive performance of the Black Stars.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup and the participation of our national team have contributed in no small way to national unity, social cohesion and enhancement of economic activities for Ghanaians at home and abroad.
Let us use this opportunity to our advantage and especially to facilitate the ‘Better Ghana' agenda of Government.
Madam Speaker, I urge this august House and Ghanaians to continue to support the Black Stars and other national