It has emerged that members of the senior national team received over $1m in winning bonuses despite recording Ghana’s worst performance at the African Cup of nations since 2006.
The sum was captured in an itemised breakdown of expenditure for the 2019 edition of the biennial tournament which was presented to Parliament today by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Isaac Kwame Asiamah.
Mr Asiamah said the approved budget comprised expenditure for a training tour and other tournament related activities, adding that $1.7m which was not expended will be returned to the state.
It will be recalled that Black Stars coach Kwasi Appiah named a 29-man provisional squad for the tournament but six players were cut for the AFCON in Egypt.
Coach Appiah dropped the following players: Ebenezer Ofori, Majeed Waris, Mohammed Alhassan, Abdul Fatawu and Yaw Yeboah after one-week camping in Dubai. Ghana defender Nuhu Musah missed Ghana’s Afcon Train through injury.
He presented a 23-man squad captained by Swansea star Andre Ayew for the tournament.
Per the breakdown provided by Mr Asiamah, a total of 1,489,432 was spent on winning bonuses for the 23-man squad of players, the technical team and additional winning bonus to additional technical staff.
The players received a total of $965,405.00, the technical team got $347,027.00 and the additional technical staff bagged $177,000.00 as the Black Stars crashed out at the Round of 16 stage against Tunisia.
It will be recalled that Ghana played four games before suffering elimination at the hands of Tunisia. The Stars won only one game against Guinea-Bissau (2-0) and drew 2-2 with Benin and played out a 0-0 draw with AFCON holders Cameroon in the group stage.
The Black Stars bonuses have been a subject of public debate for over a decade and perhaps reached its zenith at the 2014 FIFA World Cup where players of the Black Stars refused to practice if their bonuses were not paid.
The cash came two days before the clash before Portugal and its delivery by Police escort was captured on Brazilian television. Ghana lost the Portugal game 2-1 and exited that competition.
Images of a player of the team kissing a bundle of dollars linger from that moment and this has fuelled some disaffection among Ghanaians for the team.
Mr Asiamah was roundly praised shortly after being named as sports minister-designate for his decision to slash the bonuses by 50% at the 2017 AFCON in Gabon.
The reduction was announced by Mr Isaac Asiamah in their camp in Gabon, in a specially arranged press conference to address the bonus situation.
“We are going to have a stake holders meeting to discuss payments for all national teams but in the interim we have held a meeting with the players of the national team and they have agreed to a 50% slash in their bonuses”.
“They have understood the situation we are in and also understand that the fans and the general public have spoken. The players understand this.”
The Black Stars earned $5000 per win at the tournament for the group stages as well as the quarterfinal stage and $6000 for the semifinal during that competition.
Calls for the team to donate their bonuses from AFCON 2019 to charity as a sign of remorse have not been heeded.