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Democracy Cup: President Simeon-Okraku urges Parliament to help improve infrastructure

1 month ago

The President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Kurt Edwin Simeon-Okraku, has urged the nation's Parliament to take urgent steps to help improve the massive sports infrastructure deficit in the country.

Speaking at the official launch of the inaugural Democracy Cup in Parliament (Justice D.F Annan Auditorium), on Thursday June 13, 2024, President Simeon-Okraku highlighted the need to take pragmatic steps to solve the country's deteriorating infrastructure, a situation that has created a lot of discomfort for footballers and Ghanaians.

Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak will battle each other in the maiden edition of the Democracy Cup aimed at promoting parliamentary democracy through sports at the Accra Sports Stadium on Friday July 5, 2024.

The one-off match is being played between the two biggest traditional clubs in Ghana to commemorate Ghana's 30 years of Parliamentary democracy. The winner of this match will earn an opportunity to play against United States of America-based club, DC United, in Washington later in the year.

President Simeon-Okraku urged the Speaker of Parliament, The Rt Hon. Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, to take immediate steps by using the august House of Parliament as a vehicle to actively and decisively deal with the thorny issue of sports infrastructure deficit.

"We speak about Ghana being a football nation. It's time to act and take steps that will help the sports industry."

"Few days ago, our Black Stars player Thomas Partey, spoke about the need for more attention to be given to infrastructure. It is the truth! It's important that we lead the charge for better playing surfaces for our footballers. That is the only way that we can play quality football. It is a clarion call, Mr. Speaker, I will leave with his house. We pride ourselves as a football nation, having produced several star players, but if we want to be consistently abreast with the top players, we need the basics and that is what I have outlined."

"As we endorse this amazing product, I also want to say that we're committed to working closely with members of this house (Parliament) in ensuring that football gets the needed attention it deserves. Football (sports) funding is a key area that needs your immediate attention," President Simeon-Okraku urged

President Simeon-Okraku committed the Football Association to the inaugural competition that pits rivals Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak in a match of truly epic proportions at the Accra Sports Stadium on Friday July 5, 2024.

"I hope that the new baby, the Democracy Cup, will be the platform that will help us towards achieving our targeted mission as a nation. I commit the support of the Football Association to this worthy cause. I also hope that we give space to our beautiful ladies to be active members of this product."

President Simeon-Okraku urged for a more collaborative effort between the Football Association and government, highlighting the vital role democracy has played in the country over the years.

"No Football Association can thrive without having a good working relationship with government. In our country, it is very important for us to work closely with government. Football has a role to play in governance. And so, when we have such a unique opportunity in bringing the two sides (Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak) together, we can only be grateful."

"Ghana has always been a pace-setter and the introduction of the Democracy Cup will be a pace-setter in the subregion and Africa. Democracy is what we need! Democracy has come to stay and democracy has to be cemented. And if it is that football can play a part, the Football Association will stand shoulder to shoulder with the Parliament of Ghana to deliver another masterstroke."

"I am also happy that our two massive Football club brands, Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak, have accepted to participate in the inaugural edition." he concluded.

Speaker of Parliament, The Rt. Hon. Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, who revealed his support for Asante Kotoko, underlined the importance of democracy, calling for sustained support for football in the country to reclaim its lost glory.

"We are very committed that the excellence of the past will become the reality of today. I am proud to be part of this process of building the Parliament of Ghana since 1993," he said

"Lets me use this opportunity to thank the two teams for agreeing to contest and vie for this prestigious Democracy Cup."

"This football event re-emphasizes the importance of promoting healthy living and provides further evidence of initiatives aimed at strengthening the foundation of our democracy. When Parliament collapses, democracy collapses!." he warned

The Democracy Cup will be adopted as an annual celebration of the Ghana's growing democracy.

"The launch of the Democracy Cup, which forms part of activities marking our 30 years' celebration of sustained democratic rule, has also been adopted as an annual celebration in Ghana. We want it to be done annually." Speaker Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin concluded.

The launch, which was chaired by the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, was also attended by Ghana Football Association President, Kurt Edwin Simeon-Okraku, Members of Parliament, the Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA), Former Black Stars players including the iconic ex-captain Stephen Appiah, the media and other stakeholders.

There would also be a special curtain raiser between Members of Parliament and former Black Stars players ahead of the clash between Kotoko and Hearts.

Parliament last year celebrated the 30th Anniversary of its coming into being in 1993, after several years of military rule.

This followed the coming into effect of the 1992 Constitution and the return of the country to a democratic system of governance.

GFA Communications