Thank you, Mr Speaker.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Hon Minister who made the Statement for the excellent way he has eulogised our fallen heroes.
Mr Speaker, there is a saying that a nation that does not honour its heroes is not worth dying for. But it is also equally important that when these heroes are alive, we should see to their welfare.
Mr Speaker, it is an open secret that some of these coaches we are eulogising today, during their lifetime, had difficulties. They are not here to bring out all those difficulties that they encountered. Today, they are no longer there, and beyond feasting our heroes during Republic Days once in a year, what next?
Sometimes, when these heroes are on retirement, they find it difficult to have funds to buy the basic necessities like the normal body painkillers. Yet the amount of money that would be spent on the day of the funeral is so huge. We have come to a time where we need to honour those we need to honour when they are alive.
Mr Speaker, I believe that the Hon Minister who made the Statement, the Hon Minister for Youth and Sports was right on point by meticulously identifying all
those things that these our fallen heroes have done for this country. What did we do for them when they were alive? I believe that during their funerals, we would say a whole lot of things.
Going forward, I would want this House and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to institute some kind of insurance for them beyond their private personal insurance. We should have a system of setting some budgetary allocation for them as a welfare package, so that when they are on retirement, we would see to their needs.
Mr Speaker, while we sympathise with the bereaved family, we should also remind ourselves as a House, that for how long can we always come here to lament over our Hon Colleagues and those who have done something for this country and thereafter, it has been business as usual?
It is not uncommon to see some of us sometimes, even promise the widow, children and all those our departed colleagues may have left behind. We promise them when we attend their funerals. We say all sorts of things that we would do to the families who have been left behind, only for us to renege on our promises.
Mr Speaker, this is bad.
If the dead were to be alive and we stand in the midst of a gathering or sometimes, before the pulpit and promise the children and we fail to honour --
Mr Speaker, while I comment on this Statement, may I use the occasion to appeal to the public and all those who promise during periods of emotional stress but failed to honour them, especially to the widows and the children, to redeem their promises. I beseech them and all of us here never to make promises we know
we would not fulfil. We do so just to raise the hope of such bereaved families.
Mr Speaker, having said that, it is equally important for the Government to look at all those things that the people did while they were alive and ensure that during the Republic Day celebrations, as part of the packages to be announced for the aged, the Government sees to it and give some small packages to the children of those departed colleagues.
Mr Speaker, on that note, I thank the Hon Minister who made the Statement.
I believe and hope that once he has taken the mantle of the leadership of the Ministry, some of these things we have discussed here --as he sits here -- he would take them on board. This is to ensure that, at least, something is done to those of our colleagues who are alive today rather than to wait and eulogise them.
Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye (NDC - - Odododiodioo): Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity given me to contribute to the wonderful Statement made by my successor, the Hon Minister for Youth and Sports.
It is really important at this moment that we recognise the fact that it is not only in football but various Ghanaians in other endeavours of sports and disciplines have contributed meaningfully to the enhancement of the image and glory of this country.
Mr Speaker, settling down on the three departed senior colleagues of ours, I am grateful that by the grace of God Almighty, I had the opportunity to work with them in close quarters as the then
[NII LANTEY VANDERPUYE] [NII LANTEY VANDERPUYE]
General Secretary of the National Chapters Committee of Accra Hearts of Oak.
All the three coaches had a stint with Accra Hearts of Oak Football Club. Two of them also had stints with Asante Kotoko Football Club. They are possibly and undoubtedly the two most glamorous clubs in the country.
They contributed immensely to the development of young talents in this country. Special mention could be made of Coach Sam Arday in 1986 and 1987 when he assembled one of the finest teams ever for the Black Satellites of Ghana -- players like Mr Isaac Kwakye, Mr Thomas Boakye, Mr Frank Amankwah and Mr Kwame Poku. These talented young men really played their hearts out at various levels for the development of this country.
Mr Speaker, all of them have achieved successes which the Hon Minister ably mentioned.
It is noteworthy that all our international successes at various levels of football in this country were achieved through the instrumentality and the effort of our local coaches.
Two years ago, we lost Coach C. K. Gyamfi, who was followed by Coach Jones Attuquayefio. If we put these five together -- the three mentioned today and the two who went before them -- they embodied Ghana's total achievement in football from the national to the global level. That tells us that there is something in our local coaches we can build on.
Mr Speaker, I also share in the sentiments of the last Hon Member who contributed to this Statement, Hon Agyekum, that we need to take care of
the welfare of our senior colleagues and national heroes.
As we talk today, I would not be surprised, God forbid, if the Hon Minister comes back tomorrow to tell us that we have lost another. This is because, the situation of Coach John Eshun, Alhaji Doodo Ankrah, Coach Amadu Akuse, Coach Kwasi Owusu and others are not something to be enthused about. Sometimes, taking care of their medical bills is a problem.
Mr Speaker, I note that former President John Agyekum Kufuor initiated a policy outline to support these group of former national heroes time on.
Then former Presidents John Atta Mills and John Mahama also built on it and even paid moneys. Each of the winners of the past four Cup of Nations received not less than GH¢100,000.
Mr Speaker, but we need to do more. That would also act as an incentive and motivation to our players who always want to go outside because they think that if they continue playing in this country, at the end of their career, they would not have anything to take care of themselves.
Mr Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that we mourn such three wonderful personalities.
Mr Speaker, they were not just coaches. They were fathers to the players they coached. When we talk to the players, we would be told. They managed the players, visited them in their homes and became almost like godfathers to them.
Mr Speaker, it is no wonder that when Coach Afranie even left active coaching at the national level, the then Hon Minister for Youth and Sports, Hon Enoch Teye Mensah, found it worthy to appoint him as a Technical Director at the Ministry.
All these people have contributed immensely and that is why I would encourage the Hon Minister for Youth and Sports to let us look at this dispassionately as a national issue devoid of politics, on how we can evolve a system whereby our past national heroes, not only in football, but in athletics, boxing and other disciplines, can be honoured in their life time and not only come to talk about their death.
Mr Speaker, with these comments, I would want to thank you for the opportunity and also to thank the Hon Minister who made the Statement.