We are witnessing today the dawn of a new sporting era in West Africa. For the first time, a successful attempt has been made to bring the youths of West Africa together under the canopy of a healthy football competition.
I need not remind participating countries that, as was agreed at the inaugural meeting in Accra last year, this is just the trial competition and that the first real contest will take place in Nigeria in October this year to form part of her independence celebrations, an occasion which should gladden the hearts of all Africans everywhere. I am sure we all regret the absence of Nigeria in the final stages of the trial competition today but I am fully satisfied that, that is due to genuine difficulties now confronting the Nigeria Football Association which they hope to overcome in due course, to enable them to take part in subsequent competitions.
Let us all work harmoniously towards that fulfillment of our dream. In this connection, I would like to repeat what I said at the inaugural meeting in Accra:
"I selected and donated this cup not for its intrinsic value, but rather because it is symbolic of the sound foundation upon which we can build the unity of West Africa and of the great value I attach to the success of this movement."
I would like to remind all the competing teams that the glory of sports consists not in winning but in taking part. To both the winners and the losers, therefore, go my warm congratulations.
I hope the visiting teams have enjoyed their stay in Ghana and that from their association here in the field of sports, they will take back with them the seed of unity between our countries. I hope that they will scatter this seed among the youth and tend to growth with care, so that sportsmen may make their special contribution to the unity which we all cherish.
Knowing the tremendous part that sports can play in the development of the African personality, I propose to encourage its promotion here in Ghana. I hope to arrange at the earliest moment, a special sports contest to be held here, in which prominent sportsmen of African descent in America, West Indies and other parts of the world will be invited to participate. This will inspire and encourage us in our efforts to establish the African personality in its entirety.
I now have the pleasure in calling upon the captain of the Ghana national team, the newly crowned West African Soccer champions, to receive the championship trophy: The Kwame Nkrumah Gold Cup.