In a desperate image-saving exercise after the disgraceful exit of the Ghana Black Stars at the ongoing World Cup in Brazil, ousted youth and Sport Minister, Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah has narrated how the players disrespected President John Mahama.
The Minister, who had come under severe attacks over his shoddy handling of Ghana’s participation at the Mundial, leading to the early exit of the Black Stars, said the players virtually snubbed President Mahama when he requested to talk to them over their delayed appearance fees.
According to Afriyie-Ankrah, the President had wanted to talk to the Stars via Skype at one of their technical meetings in Brazil but they ignored him and rather asked him to get in touch with them in the dressing room.
“We had arranged and we were going to put the President on Skype at the hotel. They had their last technical meeting and we went in there and they had just finished the meeting.
“We were just about to connect and they started leaving and one particular player …this is the President, can you just spare us a few minutes, he said,’ no, no, dressing room, dressing room, and then he added, ‘I hope he doesn’t speak for one hour,” Elvis told a hurriedly arranged Metro TV’s ‘Good Evening Ghana’ programme hosted by Paul Adom-Otchere on Sunday.
‘Good Evening Ghana’ is aired on Tuesday and Thursdays, but in this case, the programme was aired on Sunday in a bid to white-wash the dented image of the ousted Minister who claimed that he was yet to brief his bosses, but was on live television for two hours, speaking on the same issues.
Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah was relieved of his ministerial duties after the Brazil debacle where the Black Stars were kicked out of the tournament at the group stage.
He had been sent to the Office of the President to add to the legion of Ministers of State without portfolio.
According to the former Sports Minister, the snubbing of President Mahama took place on the day of the match with Germany when the players had been agitating for their unpaid participation fee of $100,000 each.
Asked if the players were aware that it was the President who wanted to speak to them, Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah said they knew because the coach was supposed to have informed them.
He said that was absolutely disrespectful. “We are talking about the president of the land, the Commander-in-Chief. Under no circumstance…”
He however refused to name that particular player, except to say that when he gets the proper forum, he would do so.
He said a lot went wrong and that when he gets the requisite platform, he would make these public.
“Remember I have not briefed my bosses yet,” he added.
At the height of the players’ refusal to speak to the President was the apparent consistent refusal to honour the promise of paying their appearance fees which led to the embarrassing air freighting of over $3million to Brazil before their final group match with Portugal.
He said the President eventually spoke with the players in the dressing room using the phone in the Ben Dotse Malor, his spokesperson, on speaker.
According to the former Sports Minister, the attitude of the players started changing when promises of paying the fees were not met, allowing them to dictate to management.
The players were supposed to be paid the appearance fees before their departure from Accra and they were assured that when they got to Holland for their friendly game they would be paid, but that never happened.
In Miami in the United States, the players were again disappointed before they emplaned to Brazil and two weeks after their arrival, the money was nowhere to be found.
These unfulfilled promises apparently irritated the players, leading them to snub the President and subsequently requesting for cash payment of the $100,000 due each of them.