Ghana Fans Laments World Cup ‘Disgrace’ as Players Banned

Abraham Oppong says sales of jerseys for Ghana’s soccer team stalled this week at his roadside stand in Accra as the Black Stars’ off-the-field news overshadowed being eliminated from the World Cup today.

“Customers have shunned the shirts because they are upset with everything,” he said, before today’s loss to Portugal. “The $3 million saga is a disgrace to Ghana.”

The Ghana Football Association suspended Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari for misconduct and said the players wouldn’t compete in the match in Brasilia. This was a day after Coach James Kwesi Appiah promised the team would play today regardless of whether they received $3 million that President John Dramani Mahama sent on a plane last night to compensate players. The cash was delivered yesterday by armed guard, Globo TV reported.

Ghana needed to win the game against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal to have any chance of qualifying for the next round. The Black Stars tied Germany 2-2 and lost to the U.S. 2-1 in the first two games of the group round. Germany beat the U.S. 1-0 in the group’s other game today. Uruguay knocked Ghana out of the quarterfinals at the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

Vulgar Insults

Boateng used “vulgar” insults toward Appiah at a training session this week, the Accra-based GFA said on its website. Muntari attacked an executive of the football association, the organization said. Boateng plays for Germany’s FC Schalke 04 and Muntari is on contract to AC Milan.

“The decision to send the players home this morning has got to do with disciplinary issues,” Appiah told reporters after the 2-1 loss to Portugal. “These things happen. I don’t think it had any impact on the game.”

Mahama spoke to the players this week and promised that their appearance fees would be paid before the start of the game, after speculation they planned to boycott the game. The government chartered a jet to carry the cash.

Hundreds of people crowded in front of two giant TV screens on Oxford Street in the popular Accra district of Osu to watch the game. Instead of the usual celebration, fans pondered the week’s events after the loss.

“For the first time in my life I am ashamed as a Ghanaian,” Emmanuel Afetor, a 34-year-old welder, said as he held back tears. “Is this what we get for all the shame they put us through, from the $3 million saga to the sacking of players from camp? I am really sad.”