The government has promised to reward the national U-20 female football team, the Black Princesses, with a special package for qualifying for this year’s FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup in Costa Rica.
The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who made this known yesterday, did not disclose the details of the package but assured the team that the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Mustapha Ussif, would liaise with the Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei Opare, to deliver the special package to each member of the team.
“The President wants me to tell you that in recognition of your feat in qualifying for Costa Rica which is in August, he has prepared a special package for you which you will get through the Minister of Youth and Sports who will work with the Chief of Staff to deliver this nice special package to each and every one of you,” he stated.
Dr Bawumia announced this when the Black Princesses, together with their management and technical team, met with him (Vice-President), the Chief of Staff and other senior government officials at the Jubilee House in Accra yesterday.
He assured the team of the total support of government and said the government would not only thank the team for their performance but would follow up with some package.
The Vice-President said the regular visits to the Jubilee House by sports men and women was enough testimony of the commitment of the government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to sports.
That, according to him, also showed that the government had been following events at the sports front.
“When we came into office, the country had only two astro turfs; today you have almost over 80 astro turfs in Ghana and every district now is asking for an astro turf.
“We are also building stadia and we are in the process of constructing 105,000-seater sports stadia across the country,” he stated and said the projects were quite advanced and would be completed soon.
Vice-President Bawumia described the qualification by the Black Princesses as a “remarkable feat”, pointing out that “you have been way ahead of the Black Stars since 1999 when you opened the door and they qualified seven years later”.
He described the national U -20 female team as the pacesetters who had made the country proud.
While acknowledging that the qualifying journey had not been easy, Dr Bawumia said their qualification was not by luck but by dint of team work and hard work and, therefore, the girls deserved to be at the World Cup .
The Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei Opare, in a brief remark urged the team to “go and come back with the cup”.
She said investing in women’s football was a worthwhile investment and “we would continue to support you”.
Mrs Opare also commended the team for their qualification and advised them to be diligent as they prepare towards the tournament and come back with the trophy.
She also assured the team of a special visit to their camp to encourage and motivate them.
The Sports Minister, for his part, noted that the team’s qualification opened another chapter in the success story of sports in the country such as the winning of an Olympic medal in Japan last year and the recent qualification of the Black Stars to the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
He commended the management, technical team and the playing body for the feat chalked up and expressed optimism that the team would make a positive impact at the competition to make the nation proud.
The President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Mr Kurt Okraku, for his part, indicated that the commitment of the Princesses was to go beyond the group stage of the tournament.
He said the feat being chalked up in recent times was as a result of investing in the female game with support from government, the Ministry, the GFA and its partners.
Mr Okraku gave the assurance that his outfit would continue to invest in female sports since that was the only means to hoist the flag of the country in the world and other platforms so they could also show their talents.