Ghana FA thanks SA for its help

TAMALE - The Ghanaian Football Association yesterday commended the South Africa government and football authorities for helping to ensure that the ongoing 2008 Africa Cup of Nations finals are a roaring success.

Bolina Saaka, pictured, a senior member of the Local Organising Committee in charge at the Tamale host city where Bafana Bafana are based for the first round, said they appreciated the role by South African civil servants in the accreditation centre.

"There are a number of South African civil servants who are working as volunteers at all the four venues of the Africa Cup of Nations, the majority of them are helping out in capturing information for participants and issuing out accreditation," Saaka said.

"The accreditation has been a thorny issue for the media, but South Africa helped us a lot. As they are also here to learn more about big competitions, we hope South Africa will not repeat our mistakes during the 2010 World Cup,"

The South African civil servants and soccer administrators are also using the Afcon as a learning tool as part of their preparations to host a successful 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup.

Rapu Molekane, the South African High Commissioner to Ghana, said: "The mission opened in 1996. We have officials from the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industry, Home Affairs, South African Revenue Services and other departments.

"We started working with the 2008 Local Organising Committee to prepare for this tournament in October last year. Our mission has been to assist in increasing capacity in the accreditation and registration of participants.

"We also used the tournament to help the Ghanaians acquire advanced training in hardware and software.

"In April, Ghana will be hosting a United Nations gathering where the people that we trained will be part of the accreditation centre. They will be able to start doing things on their own when Ghana hosts big events," said Molekane.