Ghana, a centre of excellence within the comity of nations has gained international recognition in various endeavours of life. In the areas of good governance, rich cultural heritage, economic pursuit, among others, the nation stands tall among its peers.
The country has particularly demonstrated sterling qualities in sports and this has won it several laurels both on the continent and on the global stage. The history of contemporary African soccer cannot be written without the mention of the exploits made by Ghana’s Black Stars during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when Ghana was the lone African voice, only edging out under some inexplicable circumstances. Since Ghana gained independence from the British in 1957, the country has made great strides, emerging preeminent in many sporting disciplines, soccer being the most popular. On other sporting disciplines, Ghana has won numerous world records. In the world of boxing Ghana has produced some great boxers like D.K Poison, Azumah Nelson, Ike Quartey, Alfred Kotey, Nana Yaw Konadu, Ebo Danquah Joshua Clottey and Joseph Agbeko.
In the area of athletics, Ghana was the torchbearer for the continent, with strong showing on the continent and at international tournaments such as the Commonwealth Games, where in 1962 Mike Ahey set a games record in the Long-Jump, which was to stand for 24 years.
Currently, football remains the number one unifying sport, as it defies political, ethnic, social, and religious colorations and hence bring some sanity into our body politic.
Globally, Ghana has made great strides in football at the youth level, where after two titles at the Under-17 level, the country won the trophy at the Under-20 level.
Unfortunately, out of the country’s 56 years history, the continent’s most prestigious silverware, the African Cup of Nations has eluded Ghana for the past 31 years. Football is the passion of the nation and there have been numerous attempts in the past to end this trophy drought. This is in spite of the fact that Ghanaian footballers ply their trade in top flight clubs in Europe and other parts of the world and are highly sought after by prestigious clubs the world over.
The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, (GNPC), recognising the fact that our national team symbolises the national spirit, and identifying with the tenets of the spirit of nationalism, embraced calls by key stakeholders including the government to support the national team. This culminated in the signing of a 3 million annual renewable sponsorship deal with the Ghana Football Association (GFA), a key step towards reconciling with the corporation’s core business values. With this, the GNPC, a truly and proudly Ghanaian company is now the headline sponsors of the national team for up to five years.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of GNPC, Nana Boakye Asafu-Adjaye, the zeal displayed by the players on the field of play typifies the zeal with which the corporation has worked over the years towards striking oil in commercial quantities through partnerships which certainly represents the corporation’s drive towards promoting investments in the oil sector to propel Ghana into a key player in the sub region. He emphasized that, GNPC’s association with the Black Stars underlines the global nature of their common vision of competing successfully on the global stage in a manner that impacts Ghanaians positively and profoundly.
“For us at GNPC our business case for supporting the stars was not difficult since they are a potent vehicle for projecting GNPC’s brand as a dependable partner in oil and gas exploration globally. This is because, we, together with the Black Stars aspire to compete successfully on the global stage,” Nana Boakye Asafu-Adjaye had stated at the time of signing the headline sponsorship agreement.
The game of football was introduced into the then Gold Coast towards the close of the 19th century by merchants from Europe. Sailors during their leisure times played football among themselves and sometimes with a select side of the indigenes. The popularity of the game spread like wild fire within a short time along the coast culminating in the formation of the first football club, Excelsior, in 1903 by Mr. Briton, a Jamaican-born Briton, who was then the Head Teacher of Philip Quaicoe Government Boys School in Cape Coast.
Indeed, our gallant Black Stars have all it takes to push for nothing less than victory in the ongoing AFCON 2013 hosted in South Africa. Ghanaians must never lose hope or sleep over the results of the first match but be inspired by the spirited performance which culminated in our victory against a determined Malian side. This should serve as an opportunity for the team to muster all the passion and football prowess they are known for, to continue from this success note and progress to the finals and ultimately win the trophy.
As a country we were encouraged by the tactical discipline and the positive fighting spirit the Stars exhibited in their match against both DR Congo and Mali and are convinced the excitement is yet to begin. The GNPC is proud of our national team the Black Stars and assures them of the corporation’s continuous commitment and support as we rally round the Ghana flag. God Bless our gallant Black Stars, God Bless GNPC, God Bless our Beloved country.