The Minister of Youth and Sports, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, has described the late Ben Koufie as one of the finest footballers that the continent has seen and deserves a state burial.
Mr. Vanderpuye last Wednesday visited the family of the late Ghana Football Association (GFA) boss at his residence at Dansoman in Accra to sympathise with the family and pledged his support as far as the funeral arrangements are concerned.
According to the Minister, Ben Koufie, who died last week at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital after a short illness, won a state award, the Order of the Volta (Civil Division) and it would not be difficult to get him a state burial.
“Ben Koufie was a gentle giant on the pitch, principled administrator and a colossus in technical know-how and no doubt deserves a state burial,” he stated.
Though unassuming, he said, the late Koufie expressed his skills on the field of play and his memoirs will be a blessing to Ghana football.
“It would also be a subject book to learn sports administration, coaching and every aspect of sport in Ghana and beyond,” he stressed.
The Minister said Mr. Koufie was “a subject to learn as he was very knowledgeable and won the heart of many and yet humble,” adding that the family should celebrate the fallen hero instead of mourning.
He stressed that, the late Koufie thought him how to be principled and has transcended his brilliance and knowledge into many Ghanaians.
The Minister was with his deputy Vincent Ofosu Asamoah as well as the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry, Otoo Plaha.
They were received by head of the late Koufie’s family, Abusuapanyin Kweku Tandoh and Okyeame Kojo Christian and widow, Mrs. Sophia Christian Koufie.
The Abusuapanyin said they would have the eight days celebration of the deceased on Saturday at Capecoast Anglican Cathedral where the final funeral rites would be arranged and communicated to the minister.
The contingent then moved to the 37 Military Hospital to visit former Ghanaian athlete and coach Mike Ahey who was rushed to the hospital last Sunday after falling ill.
Mr. Vanderpuye was optimistic that the coach would get back on his feet to help develop Ghana athletics with his knowledge.
The move, he added, was to reaffirm the Ministry’s interest in all the disciplines and all personalities who helped in the development of the sport.
Mr. Ahey was grateful for the visit and praised the minister for his concern and also pledged to assist the nation with his knowledge anytime he is called upon.
By Michael D. Abayateye