The Ghana Football Association (GFA) President, Kwasi Nyantakyi has dismissed allegations that his outfit sent officials whose services are not needed to Brazil.
Debunking this assertion at a heavily packed press conference in Accra Wednesday after what many Ghanaians described as shameful and wasteful campaign; the GFA boss stated emphatically that “there were no holiday makers in Brazil.”
He also told journalists that though members of the team do not get winning bonuses, just as the players, they take what he described as, “Honorarium.”
Critics including some of the players who were in Brazil accused the FA of carrying too many officials to accompany the team to Brazil at the expense of the Black Stars.
Stars midfielder Sulley Muntari was reported to have slapped one of the management members of the FA, Moses Armah Parker, questioning his role in Brazil. The player also suggested that many of the GFA members some of whom had no specific duties in Brazil were there to feed on their largesse.
But, the FA chairman parried that assertion and said everyone taken to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil had specific role to perform.
“There is an erroneous and a clear misconception that people were sent to Brazil to holiday. It is not true. There were no holiday makers in Brazil. Everybody was busy right from the first to the last day.”
Touching on the high number of people sent to Brazil, Mr. Nyantekyi said unlike Ghana, group G opponents, US and Portugal who came along with 106 and 100 contingents respectively, Ghana went with 76 contingents who included the 23 players, 20 were part of the technical team, seven other FA officials with the rest being part of the catering services.
He admitted that the performance of the team “fell below the expectation of all of us. Our inability to qualify for the second round broke many Ghanaians’ hearts. We wish to offer an unqualified apology for that disappointment, that notwithstanding, we admit that the attributes of the team are youth, unity, and strong bond of togetherness.”
According to him, “the biggest challenge that faces the team is the delay in the payment of the appearance fees. In the last two world cups, appearance fees were paid before the start of the competition. The payment of appearance fees became problematic. The first reason was that up to Brazil the players continue to reject the appearance fee that was approved by government.
“In March, in Montenegro during the discussion with players, they refused to accept the offer of $82,500 and insisted on the sum of $100, 000, adding, “the second reason that accounted for the delay was that there was a prior agreement to pay the appearance fees on debit/credit card, but the players reneged on that and demanded the payment in cash which had been the practice.
“Our observation is that the payment of appearance fee and bonuses in cash poses many risks to the country and the players themselves including the FA. We must insist in future that the payment to players is made through the banks. Ghana went to the competition with the hope of progressing beyond the quarter finals. Understandably the GFA and Ghanaians kept high hopes in the team because of our track records.”
Asked whether he will resign after the shame they have cost the state, he responded that, “Much as there are Ghanaians who want to see my back, there are many, many, more Ghanaians who want to see my front. I am very sure of that. Many, many people appreciate me and appreciate what I’m doing, so in a democratic dispensation, the fact that somebody doesn’t like you is not enough to condemn you perpetually, that is not correct.”
He said the payment of the appearance fees to the players in cash was a normal practice and also admitted players are made to pay taxes on whatever amount they receive during the tournament as may be determined by the host country.
Moving forward he said, “We wish to note that, the World Cup in Brazil taught us bitter lessons. We must continue to emphasize discipline as the hallmark for success in our team.
“Management will continue to support the coach to instill discipline in the team. The current code of conduct will be transformed into a contract with detailed terms and conditions as the basis for invitation to the national team. The contract will cover bonuses, appearance fee, and other payments.
“The executive committee also expresses confidence in the continuity in office of the head coach and we will finalize discussions on the new terms for his further engagements. We also ask the coach to review the current squad and retain players only on the basis of competence, commitment and discipline.”