Sports News of 2014-07-02

We are sorry; Brazil 2014 taught us bitter lessons – GFA President

Ghana Football Association president, Kwasi Nyantakyi has rendered formal apologies to Ghanaians for the abysmal performance of the Black Stars at the World Cup in Brazil.

Not only did the Black Stars exit the tournament at the group stage with only a point to show for all their efforts, they also lost two of the their group matches, losing to the United States of America and Portugal, with the one point coming from a pulsating draw against Germany.

But Nyantakyi, who addressed a press conference Wednesday, said not only did the Black Stars performance fall far below expectation, but the team also picked bitter lessons from the Brazil tournament.

And an immediate lesson from the debacle is that discipline will henceforth be a prerequisite to enlist any player into the team, and the players themselves will be made to sign contracts that would spell out their engagements with the team and govern the payment of allowances.

And while the management team reposes confidence in Coach Kwasi Appiah to continue his job and build a stronger Black Stars team, he will be expected to apply the strict criteria of competence in selecting or maintaining players for the team.

He said apart from disagreements over how much appearance fees was to be paid the players – with government offering $82,500 while the players insisted on $100,000 – the Black Stars training regime for the tournament was ok, while accommodation for the tournament, was also acceptable.

He pointed out that as many as 15 players in the final tournament team were debutants at the World Cup stage, with a number of them being youngsters too, leading to the Black Stars being labelled the youngest team for the team. The fallout from that is that Ghana is again rated as the team with the biggest potential for future tournaments.

Indiscipline, he said, led to the expulsion of Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari from the team, and players agitation to be paid their appearance fees ahead of the Portugal match, which led to government flying a whopping $3 million dollars to Brazil to honour that obligation, posed several risks and would wish that the practice is given a second thought.

The pre-tournament arrangement with the players was to transfer the sums into their bank accounts and was yet to come to terms with why the players reneged on that commitment.

Kwasi Nyantakyi also debunked match-fixing allegations against him and the GFA, calling the episode which rocked Ghana’s campaign as a ‘a bogus thing’ that has duly been reported to the police and FIFA for investigations, while he takes steps to seek legal remedy.