THE Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has charged the management and players of the Black Stars to use the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola as the springboard for an assault on the South Africa 2010 World Cup.
He said the rest of the world recognised the competitive nature of the Africa Cup of Nations, and as such any nation that won it was seen as a force in the game.
“That is why I want to see the Black Stars win the tournament in Angola to prove that we are ready to take on the rest of the world in South Africa,” he said at the Manhyia Palace after receiving the cup to be contested for in Angola.
Three times Africa Best Footballer Abedi Ayew Pele led representatives of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) and Standard Bank, which is the parent company of Stanbic Bank, to present the trophy to the Asantehene.
Standard Bank is sponsoring the seven-nation tour to introduce the trophy, and Ghana is the first nation to receive the trophy.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu, who was full of smiles after Abedi Pele had presented the trophy to him said, “This trophy must surely come back to Ghana.”
He said he was aware that the Black Stars were preparing feverishly for the Cup of Nations but stressed that there should not be any form of complacency.
The Asantehene said he was also hopeful that other Africa nations that would compete in South Africa would lift high the flag of the continent.
He commended Abedi Pele for his love for the Ghanaian game, and told him to continue to support the nation to grow football.
Abedi Pele said sending the cup to Ghana would have been incomplete if it had not been presented to the Asantehene.
He said Kumasi was the epicentre of football in Ghana and against the background that one of Ghana’s biggest clubs, Asante Kotoko, is based in the city, it was appropriate that the cup was sent there and to the Asantehene.
He said for some years now Ghana had not been able to win the cup but expressed the hope that this time round the chances of Ghana were bright.
The Managing Director of Stanbic Bank, Mr Alhassan Andani, thanked the Asantehene for his dedication to Ghana sports and the bank.
He pledged that the bank would continue to count on the support of the Asantehene as it moves to play various roles not only in sports but also in other areas of national development.