Ex-captain of the Black Stars has mounted a strong defence of the national football team insisting that the abysmal World Cup campaign in Brazil last June, was because the players no longer trusted Management.
Stephen Appiah told the Justice Dzamefe Commission investigating circumstances surrounding Ghana’s unexpected first round exit that, after the Black Stars management had failed to honour their repeated promises to pay their appearance fees, the players were demoralized.
His view is in sharp contrast to the view expressed by the Ghana Football Association President, Kwasi Nyantakyi, who told Ghanaians money ruined the campaign.
The national team suffered international disgrace after defender John Boye was captured kissing $100,000 in their camp in Brazil hours before their last game against Portugal.
Despite the payment of their fees, the players put up a poor performance with the dollar-kissing defender scoring an own goal.
The team still suffers chastisement for putting money above a national cause in Brazil.
But the former Juventus player and captain, Stephen Appiah disagrees.
Picking out Ghana’s game against USA and Germany, he argued that without the money, the players played a good game and gave a record performance against Germany in a pulsating 2-2 drawn game. Ghana was the only team, the eventual World Cup winners, Germany, failed to beat in Brazil.
Appiah believed, the players put out their best because among other things, they still had some trust for their non-technical managers.
But that changed after the two games. Agitations in camp grew as the promise to pay them after the game was once again not respected.
“If you say you will let us have, let’s have it,” he told an extremely attentive commission.
Stephen Appiah observed that “If trust and integrity breaks down” that is what happens. He said the players felt treated like kids and didn’t take kindly to the treatment they viewed as condescending.
Appiah who was part of Coach Kwesi Appiah’s backroom staff also told the commission that after the players refused to train, he took to the pitch to train in the hope that it would encourage them to follow suit.
It didn’t work.
To his credit, the commission was unanimous that Stephen Appiah was a fine leader.
“From your answers, I see that you are very very intelligent,” Justice Dzamefe pointed out.
Ghana eventually needed to airlift $3 million to Brazil before the players agreed to train for the last game.
It was too little too late.
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