Arthur Wharton _ First Black Professional FootballerWednesday the 28th of October 2015 marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of the first ever black professional footballer – Arthur Wharton. An event was held at the residence HE Jon Benjamin, the British High Commissioner to Ghana in commemoration of Arthur Wharton’s remarkable contribution to football.

The gathering brought together retired players of the Ghana national football team and dignitaries from Jamestown, Arthur Wharton Foundation and the Ghana UK Based Achievement (GUBA) Awards to celebrate the life of the late Ghanaian sports Icon.

In an address to the audience, HE Jon Benjamin, called for greater efforts towards eliminating racism in football, noting that the fight against racism is still a “Work in Progress” with footballers continually being subjected to racist chants and boos in several parts of the world.

He explained that inappropriate comments made on social media in Ghana about the newly appointed Japanese coach of Accra Hearts of Oak attest to how widespread racism is. “I salute those many other Ghanaians who picked those people up for their unacceptable comments” he added.

Football Legend Abedi Pele Ayew and HE Jon Benjamin - British High Commissioner to Ghana
Football Legend Abedi Pele Ayew and HE Jon Benjamin – British High Commissioner to Ghana

The pending Jamestown Project by the BHC and GUBA was also touched on, he added:

“The British High Commission is working closely with traditional leaders, JustGhana and the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board towards restoring the James Fort; We are also honoured to be supporting GUBA – the premier organisation in the British-Ghanaian diaspora in the UK, and the Arthur Wharton Foundation towards their project aimed at improving sanitation, alleviating cholera and reviving tourism in Jamestown through education, provision of public conveniences, efficient waste management system and tourism promotion projects.” – Jon Benjamin

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Dentaa Amoateng, Chief Executive Officer of GUBA Awards, said that it would be unfortunate for anyone to doubt the commitment of the British High Commissioner to the development of Ghana. “Mr. Benjamin has the interest of Ghana at heart and he works hard to enhance relations between Ghana and the United Kingdom, and promote development through the numerous projects undertaken by the British High Commission”, she said

Dentaa also appealed to the GFA to pay a little bit more attention to the achievements of Arthur Wharton and create a fitting memorial in his motherland to honour him.

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