Sports News of 2014-03-18

Politics invade Stars camp

Even though government’s statement last Sunday night clarifying budgeted amount for this year’s 2014 World Cup in Brazil may have calm some nerves in the midst of the atrocious $20 million dollars bandied in the media, Ghanaians will be shocked at the simmering backstage politicking in the camp of the Black Stars.

Dangerous as this may be; pundits have warned it could seriously affect the performance of the country’s representatives at the World tournament slated for this summer.

The Al-Hajj has uncovered how some key actors neck deep in the preparatory process ahead of the June 12 games have tied their political apron strings to some haters of the Mahama administration working to topple it.

This unrelenting conspiracy by like-minded Ghanaians to topple President John Dramani Mahama’s government using the power of the masses akin to the political turmoil in Ukraine is said to have hit the camp of the national soccer team, the Black Stars, through agents working in partnership with the Stars’ supervising body, the Ghana Football Association (GFA).

The Al-Hajj’s investigation has unearthed how some unidentified desperate persons desirous of kicking out President John Mahama and his ruling government out of power have infiltrated the GFA and the Stars’ camp in order to foment trouble for the President at this eleventh hour of the nation’s preparation for the 2014 world cup tournament in Brazil.

The strategy has been shrewdly crafted in such a way that any government of Ghana at this period would find it’s back pushed to the wall to the extent that, regardless of how it is handled, the government would eventually end up becoming unpopular.

But luckily, government has escaped the first trap set for it and has stamped it authority by approving a GHC 24, 677, 025, budget for the World tournament, which Ghana will be participating for the third consecutive time.

Whiles the general Ghanaian society particularly those in academia, labor, professional bodies, religious leaders among others including our development partners, in the midst of the current economic challenges facing the nation are all demanding government cut down on profligate spending to ‘protect’ the suffering masses, elements associated with the main opposition NPP fantasizing a Ukraine-like regime change are leading the Black Stars players to be making outlandish and outrageous compensation demands from government.

Strangely but interestingly, which also goes to give credence to the above assertions, in our present circumstances and in its present form, there is no permanent or standing Black Stars as a team.

At least, national Coach, Kwesi Appiah has confirmed this when he said his 23 man squad to constitute the national team, the Black Stars to play in the Brazil tournament, would only be selected based on the ongoing international friendly games.

However, Stars skipper, Asamoah Gyan and his supposed colleagues aided by the GFA boss, Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi have brazenly began making unrealistic demands.

And, as if to showcase their disdain and/or hatred for the President, these “supposed” Black Starts players and Mr Nyantakyi, contrary to the President and Bank of Ghana’s directives, are reported to be demanding that their bonuses and allowances be paid in dollars instead of cedi.

This is against a well-known fact that the dollar is not a legal tender in Ghana.

Even more worrying is the fact that, at a time the country is facing serious economic downturn which demands sacrifices from all, and to the extent the President and his appointees have to take a 10 percent pay cut, these ‘mafias’ in cahoots with some members of the FA and the “unnamed” Black Stars players have announced they are not taking anything less than $100.000 dollars as appearance fees for the 2014 world cup in Brazil.

This outlandish and outrageous appearance fee is minus other expenses including winning bonuses and allowances due to Ghanaian players likely to make Kwesi Appiah’s 23 man list for the world cup campaign, managers and technical handlers.

What this means is that, even before the kick-off of the world football tourney in Brazil on June 12, 2014, the government and the impoverished people of Ghana would have to cough up a whopping US$3 million, money equivalent to some participation nations’ entire budget for Brazil 2014 as appearance fees for the 23 selected players and their handlers.

Thankfully, Ghana’s Minister of Information and Media Relations, Hon. Mahama Ayariga told Asempa Sports yesterday that government has not approved the much publicized $100,000 appearance fee for Ghana’s players who will be playing at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in June.

According to the Minister the GH¢24,677,025 budget approved by government for the June World Cup did not include the $100,000 appearance fee demanded for by Ghana’s players.

Ominously, almost 3 months into the world tournament, not even the regular players of the Black Stars including Captain, Asamoah Gyan have been guaranteed an automatic place by the coach to have emboldened them to be making such ridiculous and unpatriotic demands authorities at the FA say they merit.

Whereas Ghanaians scratch their heads over what could have prompted some FA officials and the purported players to take to such unpatriotic trajectory, The Al-Hajj has gathered that the demands feeds into a larger plot by haters of the present Mahama government, who are conspiring with officials at the football governing body to make President Mahama’s government unpopular.

They are said to have resolved to task their allies within the GFA to push for huge demands on behalf of the players, even when some of the players say they are prepared and indeed, willing to don the national jersey and play in the world tournament without any inducement.

The strategy of these faceless ‘enemies’ of the president, according to a source familiar with the plot is for the government to incur the wrath of Ghanaians who have been battling serious economic hardships should it yield to the so-called demands of the players.

On the other hand, in the event government is unable to meet the demands of the ‘team’ and consequently, should the Black Stars make poor showing in Brazil, government would be accused of lack of commitment to the development of football and therefore held responsible.

However, it must be placed on record that while the GFA chairman, Kwesi Nyantakyi has come out to endorse the purported demands by the ‘Stars’, his right hand man at the FA and Communication Director, Mr Sani Diara, has rather condemned the $100, 000 appearance fee being demanded by supposed Black Stars players, insisting, continual increasing it is unsustainable.

Numerous readers of The Al-Hajj are urging the government to bite the bullet and reject these atrocious demands and tell those involved in this wicked plot in the face that if they are not ready to demonstrate patriotism at this critical moment when the country is reeling under severe economic difficulties, then they can remain in their respective clubs and allow other equally talented but patriotic players to serve their motherland.

According to them, Government through the Sports Ministry should also put in place alternative plans to arrest any eventuality in case the supposed Black Stars players and their cohorts in the FA decide to pull a fast one on Ghanaians at the last minute.

They said all well-meaning Ghanaians must rise up to condemn this unpatriotic behavior of our stars and their ‘leaders’ at the FA. “Questions must be asked of the last time they won any trophy for the nation after blowing huge sums of money in tournaments”, a livid reader retorted? Stay tuned.

Source: Al-Hajj
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