We Are Focused On Portugal, Nothing Else – Appiah

Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah has stressed the African giants will not boycott the Group G game against Portugal at the Estadio Mane Garrincha on Thursday following a row over appearance fees.

The Black Stars are irritated the fees for the World Cup have not been paid since the start of the competition and almost opted out of their trip to Brasilia for their must-win final group game.

Ghana president John Mahama had to intervene swiftly to calm nerves and sent a plane with €2.2 million in cash to Brasilia to solve the matter and Appiah has little doubt that everything will be sorted by the end of Wednesday.

“It’s true there were some issues concerning money, but I hope things will be sorted out shortly. They should have solved this before, but it will be solved now. We are very focused. The government has intervened. We have spoken this morning. The money should arrive in an hour or two,” the Ghana coach said at the pre-match press conference.

“The players will go out there regardless of whether the money arrives. It’s not about being rewarded for anything. It’s all about the appearance fees, which any country pays its players.

“Players are entitled to this. Fifa pays this money to the countries. Ghana then pays it to the players. Some of the players don’t have an account in Ghana, which is why they’re flying in cash.

“The system in Africa is different than elsewhere. I’m not saying this is the best way, but this is the way things go for us.

“Fifa doesn’t pay this money until the tournament starts. Sometimes a country or FA pays the money to the players before they receive it themselves, but that’s not always the case.

“No coach would like his players to worry about money before such an important World Cup match. I have had some sleepless nights. These things should have been taken care of before the competition. But we are trying to cope with it.”

Attacking midfielder Christian Atsu, meanwhile, stressed the players are focused on the match against Portugal and will do their utmost to do their country proud.

“I think there are a lot of issues that have complicated things for Ghana. But the players are focused on tomorrow’s game. We have sat together to discuss everything. Our captain spoke to us. We have to put all this behind us and focus on tomorrow’s game. This game is vital for all Ghanaians. If we lose this game, people think it will be because of the money. We must do the nation proud.

“We are in the biggest tournament in the world. Even if the money issue won’t be sorted, we will do our best for the team. We will not boycott the game. We took a decision. We love our nation and want to play for our nation.”

The Chelsea man, who was on loan at Vitesse Arnhem last season, then joked that the players could face a difficult task to protect their money once the appearance fee issue is settled.

”We will keep the money in our bags. We have to lock it away,” Atsu said when questioned on the matter.

“And we will eventually transfer it into our accounts.”