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Past national players to be honoured   
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Al Wahab Sports International Limited and Network Broadcasting Company Limited has initiated a project aimed at recognising the efforts of past and present Ghanaian footballers in national development.

The project will seek to select 22 players from 1980 to 2000 for their distinguished performance will be tagged as Ghana's all time best during the period.

A similar exercise will be conducted by the two organisations between the periods of 1957 and to 1980 after the completion of the first phase.

Farouk Al Wahab, Project Director of Al Wahab explained at a press conference in Accra on Friday that the project which will select the eleven best players will be called "The Golden 11".

He said additional eleven players will also be selected to serve as the reserves.

The Project Director said the selection will be conducted by a 25-member panel made up of retired footballers, soccer administrators, veteran sports journalists and a representative from the Technical Committee of the Ghana Football Association (GFA).

The 25 member panel includes Kwabena Yeboah - Editor of Africa Sports, Felix Abayateye, Editor of Graphic Sports and veteran journalist Ken Bediako.

It also includes Mohamed Ahmed Polo, coaches Sam Arday, Cecil Jones Attuquayefio, Osam Doudou, E. K. Afranie, Selas Tetteh, J. E. A. Sarpong, Malik Jabir and Ibrahim Sunday as well as Abedi Pele Ayew, former captain of the Black Stars.

Among the football administrators on the panel are the Founder of King Faisal Football Club, Alhaji Abdul Karim Gruzah, Nii Ayi Bonte II, Chairman of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of Accra Hearts of Oak, Harry Zakkour and Alhaji Suleman Braimah, both members of Board of Directors of Hearts of Oak, Frank Appiah-Agyei, a member of the Premier League Board (PLB), Alhaji Sly Tetteh, Chief Executive of Liberty Professionals, Kudjo Fiano, Chief Executive of Ashgold and Rev. Osei Kofi, a management member of Kumasi Asante Kotoko.

According to Al Wahab, the selection process will not be limited to the panel but that the public will also have a say in the final decision through text messages.

Al-Wahab said the final list of 22 personalities together with others who even though could not make it into the final set will be rewarded at a special awards ceremony in March.

Ben Koufie, a former chairman of the GFA, who launched the Project, commended the two bodies for initiating such a laudable idea.

He, however, noted that the first phase of the exercise must be expanded since the period between 1980 and 2000 seems to ignore the efforts of the early footballers.

Koufie expressed the hope that the organisers will make the necessary changes to the selection process.

He said involving all the generations of footballers will give the exercise more credibility and the inspiration across board.

Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, Deputy Minister of Information said the move to recognise the efforts of the past footballers was a good step in the right direction since they most ex sports men and women, especially footballers have been neglected for too long.

He said many past national footballers are leaving in very deplorable conditions and there is the need to initiate such programmes aimed at taking care of their welfare.

Mr Ablakwah noted that efforts must be made at sourcing for revenue from all areas to take care of past national footballers.

He said a percentage from stadium gate proceeds, friendly international matches and football tournaments can be channelled into the welfare of the past footballers, especially those in deplorable conditions as a show of appreciation by the country and its passionate football lovers.
Source: GNA

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