Madina Youth defeated Paradise FC of New Town 2-0 to win this year’s International Migrants Day football competition at the Kotobabi Wembley Sports Complex in Accra.
The match was organised by the International Organisation for Migrant (IOM) with support from the European Union Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.
A brace from Jacob Inkoom was good enough to secure his side the trophy as tournaments top scorer Bernard Coffie continued his scoring form in the final with a consolation goal for Paradise FC.
The competition, was organised for four migrant sending communities in the country – Los Angeles of (Nima), Malaga Base (Mamobi), Paradise FC (New Town) and Madina Youth.
The completion, according to the organisers was used to highlight the dangers faced by irregular Ghanaian migrants during their journey.
Dr Mustapha Hamid, Minister of Inner-Cities and Zongo said, it was important for the youth to learn about the dangers associated with irregular migrations.
He advised the youth to stay and develop their talents to be productive to the country.
He said the government were undertaking a lot of projetcs in the Zongo Communities to equip the youth and make them useful citizens.
“We are undertaking a Zongo Coders programme which is a training programme for young people in the Zongo Communities and it includes how to identify problems and develop computer softwares to resolve those challenges,” he said.
He said, the Ministry would introduce the Zongo league to unearth talents by the first quarter of 2019.
Ms Sylvia Lopez- Ekra, Chief of Mission of IOM Ghana said as a result of mis-information and limited opportunities for safe and regular migration, many young Ghanaians attempt to reach Europe in search of greener pastures by traveling irregularly through Libya.
She said the IOM had facilitated the return of 970 Ghanaians, primarily from Libya but also from Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso.
She said that Greater Accra region was the second highest region in terms of returns, adding that it was one of the regions which was most prone to irregular migration in Ghana.
“Given the attraction of sports, particularly football to the youth, we believe that the International Migrants Day offers a timely opportunity to bring youth together to sensitize them on safe migration and also highlight the opportunities to them in Ghana.”
“This year for the 18th international Migrants Day, we want to take the conversation out of the conference rooms and bring it to the youth and make sure that they hear the message and talk about it with their friends and families. Because we know a lot of young people in these communities are interested in irregular migration.
Diana Acconia, Head of EU Delegation to Ghana said an EU-IOM joint initiative programme had given almost one thousand migrants the opportunity to voluntarily return home with dignity, mainly from Libya.
She said, the EU and its individual member states offered opportunities for legal migration, particularly for students wishing to improve their knowledge and skills before making use of it back in Ghana.
Sheikh Armiyawo Shaibu, Public Relations Officer for the National Chief Imam added that, the fight against irregular migration should be a collective responsibility of all stakeholders.
He said the attention of the youth should be drawn to the fact that travelling outside to find greener pastures should not expose them to risk that will take away their dignity.