IT is said that a nation which does not recognise and honour its heroes and heroines is not worth dying for. This is a statement worth pondering on.
In Ghana, for instance, there are many illustrious sons and daughters who deserve to be honoured for their exploits and pioneering roles in lifting high the national flag.
Such personalities whose untiring efforts have earned the nation a good reputation and raised it to its current level, need to be recognised and rewarded, accordingly.
One of such great heroes and illustrious sons is Stephen ‘Tornado’ Appiah, the former captain of the senior national football team, the Black Stars, whose past achievements, both locally and internationally, are unparalleled. He it was who inspired and led the Black Stars to make their first appearance at the World Cup tournament, and dazzled the world with their performance.
He again led the team in the repeat performance which almost saw them in the semi-finals of the tournament in South Africa.
The ex-captain, who has indicated his intention to retire officially from active football, would be staging a testimonial game for which he has invited top class international soccer stars to join him at the Accra Sports Stadium on Saturday, to bid farewell to the game.
Reports, however, indicate that the National Sports Authority (NSA), caretakers of the Accra Sports Stadium, are demanding from the organisers of the event, GH¢30,000 ($6,833) for the use of the facility.
The NSA is also asking for 35 per cent share of the total proceeds to be realised from the game, before renting out the stadium for the match.
Primeval Media, the organisers, we are told, is facing a huge task in securing the Accra Sports Stadium for the testimonial match, as it has to raise the huge amount being demanded by the NSA for renting out the stadium.
The Times is baffled at the impediment being placed in the way of the organisers of a tournament meant to honour this illustrious son of the nation.
One would have thought that the authorities would offer him all the support needed, as a clear demonstration of the nation’s appreciation of his sacrifices during his active days.
We expect the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the umbrella body of the NSA, to intervene in the fixing of the rate for the venue, since the testimonial match is for a worthy cause.
The soccer maestro himself is touring the country to invite prominent personalities and traditional leaders to grace the occasion, showing the importance he attaches to the event which also has an international dimension because of the foreign stars coming.
The Times, therefore, appeals to the relevant authorities, including the NSA, to reconsider the decision and bring the rate down so that the nation can give this great footballer a befitting farewell.