President Akufo-Addo has urged the Black Stars to end the 40 trophyless years Ghana has experienced since it won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1982.

In a goodwill message to the senior national soccer team ahead of its first game, the President said a lot is expected from them and he is optimistic that the Black Stars will give their utmost best and make Ghana proud with a fifth trophy.

He wished the Milovan Rajevac-led team good luck as they come up against Morocco today at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Cameroon. It is the third game for the day.

“I send best wishes from all Ghanaians to you, the playing, technical and management team of the senior national soccer side, the Black Stars. We are all happy that finally, the AFCON 2021 tournament, which was postponed last year, is now going to be held. The coronavirus pandemic notwithstanding.

Like every other edition of AFCON, the Ghanaian people demand nothing short of ultimate glory from the stars. The pressure to succeed is understandably high because of our status as four-time winners and also because it has been forty long years since we last lifted the trophy.

The target for you, naturally, is to bring the cup home. We have to go a step further than the second places we recorded in 1992, 2010 and 2015 and bring the forty years drought to an end. The task may be daunting, but it is certainly not insurmountable. I believe that in the current crop of players, we have the talent to match any of the best teams on the continent,” he said.

According to him, Ghana is one of the favourites in the ongoing tournament; hence, “let us work to bring the prediction to fruition.”

President Akufo-Addo also entreated the players to wear the Black Star jersey with pride and determination.

“Be of one mind and spirit and be united on or off the pitch. You the current crop, wear the jersey of the Black Stars. The same jersey worn by Ghanaian legends Edward Acquah, Mohammed Salisu, Baba Yara, Abdul Razak and others,” he added.

To the benched players, the President encouraged them to support those selected to be on the pitch wholeheartedly as such an act is the way the country can break the 40 years cup drought.

“Whether you are in the starting 11 chosen by the coach, Milovan Rajevac or not, you owe it a duty to back and support wholeheartedly your teammates representing the nation on the field. That is how a fifth AFCON trophy for mother Ghana can be achieved.”

Meanwhile, the President has advised Ghanaians to show unwavering support to the national team throughout the tournament.

He spoke against any form of attack against the team on social media platforms should matters not go as predicted.

For him, this is vital because steadfast support behind the Black Stars is how the team becomes a force to reckon with during the game.

“To you, my fellow Ghanaians, now more than ever, is the time to throw our unwavering support behind the team. Yes, I am aware there are 30 million coaches in Ghana. However, in this age of social media, we cannot allow any form of pessimism, especially in our comments, towards the team. We cannot directly or indirectly afford to break their morale.

In the highs or lows, in good or bad times, we must show the team that we are Ghanaians, and we look out for each other no matter what,” he stated.

He concluded by reiterating his confidence in the Black Stars to make 2022 the year of AFCON.

“We can make the Black Stars a force to reckon with once again on the continent and world football beginning with this tournament. Go for gold, go for the fifth AFCON trophy.

“We can do it. I know we can do it. May God bless the Black Stars and us all, and may God bless our homeland Ghana and make her great and strong. I pray we and the Black Stars have a great tournament.”

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