Bank lauded for help

ACCRA - The Ghana 2008 Local Organising Committee has complimented Standard Bank for their initiative in training and organising 2 000 Ghanaians to serve as volunteers at the 26th Africa Cup of Nations finals.

The giant South African banking institution is one of the official partners of the tournament after pumping in R15 million to the Afcon and the African Champions League, a prestigious event where league winners and runners-up battle for honours.

Presented with branded uniform by the bank that also operates in Ghana, the volunteers operate in all four cities - Accra, Kumasi, Tamale and Sekondi - where the three-week, 16-nation tournament is played.

The volunteers are also at hotels, airports, accreditation and media centres. They were trained by experts before the start of the tournament that has attracted more than 7 000 tourists from across the continent and the globe.

Anthony Baffoe, a former Ghanaian senior national soccer team captain who is serving as the director of international affairs of the organising committee, said they appreciated the bank's support for the tournament.

"The success of any tournament globally depends on the volunteers. The volunteers are the ones who have contributed immensely to the success of this competition," he said.

"It has been a great success and we appreciate the support of everybody involved.

"This is also good because some of the volunteers will be coming to South Africa for the 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup.

"We as Africans will support the people of South Africa all the way for a successful tournament.

"We are happy that South Africa made it clear that it will be an African World Cup during the bidding process.

"It's good that all their officials are still talking the same language for the tournament," said Baffoe, who has also played his professional soccer in Germany.

Clement Motale, the bank's sponsorship manager, said they were proud to be part of the tournament, which has brought some of the best players in the world such as Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto'o, Sibusiso Zuma, Aaron Mokoena, Frederick Kanoute and Mohamed Zidan to Ghana.

The bank is one of the two South African companies involved in this tournament and the African Champions League along with MTN.