The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif, says hosting the 2023 All Africa Games in Ghana will be of immense benefits to the country’s sports development.
Speaking at the official sod cutting ceremony at Borteyman, Accra, to commence construction of facilities for the Games, Mustapha Ussif noted that hosting the Games will not only significantly boost the nation’s sports infrastructure, but will also accelerate sports development, which falls in line with government’s vision.
“Hosting the biggest sporting event on the African continent, the African Games 2023, falls in line with the vision of His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to promote national development through sports,” Mustapha Ussif said.
“In the wisdom of the President, hosting the African Games will also accelerate the development of sports as well as provide the needed sports infrastructure to quicken such development,” he added.
The Youth and Sports Minister said the Akufo-Addo government had already delivered unprecedented sports infrastructure in the country in the past four years, and the African Games would add to that remarkable legacy.
“The African Games is a massive and multi-sports event which requires modern and internationally approved facilities for a successful event,” he said.
“Already, under the able leadership of President Akufo-Addo, there has been unprecedented development in sports infrastructure. From the national stadia which are undergoing renovations, the multi-purpose sports facilities currently under construction in ten regions and over seventy astro turfs across the country.
“We are optimistic that the construction of the Borteyman Sports facilities and the upgrading of facilities at the University of Ghana will provide the nation with the capacity not only to host a successful African Games, but also position the nation to attract other major sporting events to Ghana. These facilities will further provide the needed infrastructure for sport development and nurturing of talents,” he said.
He urged Ghanaians to embrace the event and support it for history to be made together.
“I call on all Ghanaians to embrace this national project, the Africa continents and the global sports fraternity to join us in making history and planting the seed for sustainable sport development and development through sports,” he said
President Akufo-Addo on Tuesday cut the sod for the commencement of construction of facilities for the Games, which will be staged at two centres in Accra, Borteyman and the University of Ghana campus.
Alongside the construction of facilities at Borteyman, government will also complete the abandoned University of Ghana Stadium, which will be used for athletics and football.
In a related development, the Minister has assured the nation’s retired sportsmen and women that they would play a key advisory role during his tenure, as he begins engagements to solicit their experiences and expertise to improve and develop sports in the country.
The first of such engagements, which took place yesterday at Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel in Accra, had in attendance legends such as Rev Osei Kofi, Ibrahim Sunday, Tony Baffour, Daniel Owusu, Wilberforce Mfum, Stephen Appiah, Abedi Ayew Pele, among others.
The Minister, who expressed delight in seeing and engaging with great personalities who lifted the flag of Ghana high during their playing days, believes there is the need to solicit for their expertise to help develop sports in the country.
Addressing the former players, Mustaph Ussif said the meeting with them was part of a series of engagements to familiarise himself with them and tap into their experiences.
“As part of my stakeholder engagements as the new Minister of Youth and Sports, I have called this meeting to familiarise with you, our legends, thank you for your patriotic service to our nation and also seek your guidance and support for the new generation, as they strive to emulate your golden path,” he indicated.
Acknowledging the vast experience gathered in the room, the Minister said, “One person or one group cannot do it for mother Ghana. It requires the collective effort of everyone, including our legends, even if it is by your prayers or advice”.
Mr Ussif also spoke about plans to roll out an insurance package for all national team players to ensure their future is protected. The document, he disclosed, is with the Attorney General and would be implemented when it goes through all the approval processes.
He also reiterated government’s commitment to developing sports by implementing the Sports Development Fund, which will go a long way to provide financial support for local teams to enable them discover talents for the national teams.
The former players took turns in raising issues and suggestions to help improve football.
The Minister, in conclusion, disclosed his intention to continually hold such meetings with retired persons in other sporting disciplines, apart from football, in order to ensure holistic sports development.