‘Kevin, Coach Appiah exchanged words’
The head of the Black Stars’ security team in Brazil, Saeed Mubarak Suleman Lartey, yesterday gave the Justice Dzamefe Commission a vivid account of a confrontation between Kevin-Prince Boateng and coach James Kwasi Appiah during one of the team’s training sessions, as well as a graphic detail of a brawl between Sulley Ali Muntari and a team management official, Moses Armah (alias Mospacka) which led to the players’ suspension from the team in Brazil.
Giving testimony on the security challenges which he had to deal with in Brazil, Mr Lartey described the action of Boateng as an act of indiscipline, saying, his prompt intervention prevented the confrontation from escalating, as the Schalke 04 player was stressing a point to the coach in a way he (Appiah) did not like, and was also insistent on driving home his point.
“My Lord, they were so close at the time they were exchanging words, and the expression on their faces showed that they were very angry, so I quickly separated them and whisked the coach into the team bus, while other players who were closer cooled down the temper of Kevin-Prince Boateng before leading him to join his colleagues in the bus,” he explained.
Mr Suleman said an upset Boateng continued his confrontation with the coach in the bus, but the coach did not respond. But the security chief insisted the verbal confrontation did not degenerate into exchange of blows.
“As a player, the best way he should have made that point was to have confided in the captain for him to talk to the coach, so it was a case of indiscipline on the part of the player.”
Mr Suleman, who said he was not present when Muntari allegedly engaged in a scuffle with Mr Armah, told the commissioners that the fight was in two phases - during the volatile meeting between the players and the management, and post-meeting confrontation - and only witnessed the second phase in which he intervened to calm down the infuriated player, while taking steps to rescue Mr Armah from further attacks.
He recounted how he was woken from bed late in the night to help restore calm as the bare-chested Muntari was being prevailed upon by teammates, including Michael Essien, GFA President Kwesi Nyantakyi and FA spokesperson Ibrahim Sannie Daara, to desist from further attacking Mr Armah.
He said it was at that time that he had sent Mr Armah into his room, but enraged Muntari eventually forced his way into the official’s room and smashed his iPad, laptop and mobile phone.
“He [Muntari] had blood dripping from his mouth following the exchange with Mospacka, so he wanted to revenge, hence his action,” explained the security chief, who said that in order to prevent further attacks, he and other FA officials impressed on Mospacka to leave the hotel and lodge in another one which he readily agreed to.