The first of what will be many brainstorming, planning and strategic sessions ahead of the official release of Ghana’s World Cup Planning Committee for Brazil 2014, has been held behind closed doors in the Ghanaian capital Accra.
Presiding over the two hour meeting, Minister of Youth and Sports Hon Elvis Afriyie Ankrah stated that draft plans had already started before Ghana’s final qualification match against Egypt in Cairo.
“It was not that we were overconfident about qualifying but rather decided to start our homework very early because June is not as far off as we may think.
The government, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports is already on the ground working just as the Ghana Football Association is also doing in partnership with our sponsors”.
The Minister cited the all hands on deck approach as the best way forward.
“For example headline sponsor GNPC is planning a support package to send the Black Stars’ technical team on a refresher course in England and this is the sort of cooperation and proactive thinking is the direction we must all follow”.
In an open forum, Brazil’s Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Excellency Irene Vida Gala shared some of the concerns that authorities in Brazil are anticipating. She stressed that a lot of collaborative work would have to be done between the two countries for mutual benefit.
“My Embassy here is ready to help Ghana and also in Brazil because this World Cup will be very different and special for many reasons. That is why I am happy to be here to witness and share my ideas at this meeting”.
An impressive and slick power-point presentation by Marketing consultant Fred Darko, received a good round of applause after which the vice President of the Ghana Advertisers Association Joel Nettey intimated that the competition for local and global sponsors would be keen hence the need to be creative yet robust with the sponsorship and marketing drive.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts Hon. Elizabeth Adjare chipped in with some valuable inputs as per how Ghana would be marketed beyond just football.
“The presentation we have watched is very impressive especially the aspect of taking Ghana to Brazil and also selling our culture, music, food and so on at the World Cup stage”
Representing the Chief of Staff at the meeting were Kojo Adu Asare former MP for Adentan, Michael Attipoe from the Commission on Culture, and Dr Tony Aubyn who is widely regarded as one of the men who turned the fortunes of the Black Stars around with the breakthrough Goldfields sponsorship in 2005.
Dr Aubyn commended all the stakeholders and reiterated the need for early preparations on and off the field.
“I have been to two previous World Cups and we have improved steadily but Brazil presents the toughest test yet that is why this meeting and more to follow will be crucial in how best we prepare for Brazil 2014”.
President of the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) Mr Ackah Anthony was hopeful that the media’s role in Ghana’s preparation would be deeper and even more impactful than the two previous editions.
There were also representatives from Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Ghana Chamber of Commerce, and Industry, the National Theatre, Ministry of Youth and Sports, AGI and the National Security.
The stakeholders will re-convene in the New Year when it is expected that the full composition of the Ghana World Cup Project Committee would be announced.