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The real story behind the jeep cars Mahama govt gave Black Stars players after 2015 AFCON

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Mon, 14 Feb 2022 Source:

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Former Minister for Youth and Sports, Mahama Ayariga has disclosed the story behind government's decision to reward the Black Stars with vehicles after finishing second at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

After a pulsating 120 minutes of action which ended goalless, the Black Stars 9-8 lost on penalty shootouts to Ivory Coast in the final of the 2015 AFCON.

Despite failing to win Ghana's fifth AFCON title, the team was gifted $25,000 plus a car each for their efforts.

Speaking in an exclusive interview on GhanaWeb’s Sports Check show, Mahama Ayariga disclosed that he did several things behind the scenes to aid in Ghana's quest of winning the title

“I recalled in the finals, we were facing Cote d'Ivoire and that time they had one of the best players and coach. They have five stars who could all score and we had just one star that was Asamoah Gyan who wasn’t even well,” the former Sports Minister said.

He added, “our coach told me just before the match that I don’t have a striker, so we have to find a way to make sure we win the match. To do that he has to prevent five scorers from the opposing side from scoring.”

The Bawku Central MP revealed that he had to use his influence as a Minister to convince some companies to make commitments to the team to aid their quest to win the title.

“I had to chip in a motivation, three days to the match he gave me a strategy and our job as government was to try and motivate the players,” the MP stated.

Adding, “I had to call GNPC, convince the board chairman and he doubled his offer for them. I had to call the president, told him… and he said do what you have to do. I had to call car manufacturing companies to try and convince them, they chipped in money and the state chipped in something small and waved taxes.”

“We put all the package together and told them that if you win you will get this and get that. That is motivation,” he said.

Despite losing the game, the Parliamentarian noted that his effort paid off especially because “Ghanaians lost love for them because of what happened in Brazil so this the opportunity to redeem yourselves.”

About 30 Cherokee Jeep cars which reportedly amounted to $2,280,000 were distributed to the team by the NDC government in 2015.

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