President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Kurt Okraku, says the Blacks Stars of Ghana were subjected to very hostile treatments during their World Cup Qualifier against the Super Eagles of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to him, he has never seen that level of hostility throughout his professional career.
Speaking at a meeting with President Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House, on Tuesday, the GFA boss revealed that despite the ill treatment meted to his team, they still managed to weather through the difficulties and qualify for the mondial.
He therefore expressed optimism in the fortunes of the Black Stars, as they prepare for the World Cup in Qatar, this year.
“We travelled into the lion’s den. For those of you who were at the Moshood Abiola Stadium yesterday, you’ll fully understand what I mean by to play in the lion’s den. In the morning before the game, Mr. President, I did say that our country, our proud colours will be defended vehemently by sixteen plus gallant men. Not eleven on the pitch.
Mr. President, I’ve never seen a hostile atmosphere like we went through in Abuja. I’ve never seen, sorry but I’ll say it here. I’ve never seen match officials as hostile as we found ourselves playing against yesterday. But the indomitable fighting spirit of the Ghanaian, led by an amazing technical team kept our hopes alive”, he explained.
Kurt Okraku also used the occasion to express his gratitude to the millions of supporters who cheered the Black Stars to victory on Tuesday. In his appreciation, he further noted the support from government to the Black Stars. According to him, the courtesies and gestures from government have all culminated in the Stars’ qualification.
Speaking to the team and other officials at the Jubilee House, President Akufo-Addo reiterated government’s support for the Black Stars as they prepared for the tournament.
According to the President, he is impressed by what has been exhibited so far by the technical team.
“If the spirit that we have seen in these two matches and level of skills that have been demonstrated is kept together, the sky is the limit. Whatever that can be done on our side, government is ready to support and give you most agreeable and convenient background tools and resources to work with”, Akufo-Addo said.
He added that, “the rest is up to you. But what I’ve seen, I know that a lot of good things are ahead of Ghanaian football. Welcome to the seat of the presidency and I congratulate you on behalf of the 31 million people in Ghana for the great feat.”
The President revealed that the events that took place after the match, indeed tell that the Black Stars had been in and out of the lion’s den. As a token of his appreciation, he made a donation of a Presidential Diary, to the captain of the side, Thomas Partey.
Akufo-Addo said the Diary will be given to the entire visiting team, in addition to his ‘special package’, to the team.
After Black Stars’ victory, events at Moshood Abiola Stadium turned chaotic. Fans of the host country ran onto the pitch, vandalising whatever property they could lay their hands on.
They also turned their fury to the Nigerian players, CAF officials, Black Stars and their supporters.
But addressing the gathering, the Minister for Sports, Mr. Mustapha Ussif, said the senior national team showed togetherness during the matches against the Super Eagles of Nigeria at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi and in Abuja.
“Your Excellency, what we witnessed yesterday from the Black Star was a display of brotherhood to fight for a common purpose. In the face of adversity, the Black Stars stood together, trusted in one another, lifted one another and ultimately, lifted the entire country.”
He also used the opportunity to thank President Akufo-Addo for his support towards the Black Stars preparations for the World Cup qualification.
“I will like to thank you, your Excellency for your personal commitment towards this process and eventually our qualification. You ensured that every financial and logistical need for the Black Stars were met. You opened your doors to me without hesitation and on all discussion towards the Black Stars.”
Head coach, Otto Addo, thanked his predecessors for the good work done and thanked all who helped in shaping the Black Stars.
“There was a long path before, and C.K. Akornor is part of this success as well as Milovan Rajevac and our captain Andre Ayew and other players missing today”.
In attendance at the meeting were; Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Minister for Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif, President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Kurt Okraku, and representatives of the media.
The Black Stars arrived at the Kotoka International Airport yesterday evening.
Meanwhile, the African teams who have booked a place in the 2022 FIFA World Cup include; Ghana, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia and Cameroon.
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