Boateng and Muntari sent home by Ghana
Ghana’s players departed the World Cup finals £1.7m richer after receiving the appearance money that they claimed they were owed, but with their reputations severely damaged following a series of controversial off-the-field events that overshadowed Thursday’s 2-1 defeat by Portugal.
With Germany beating the USA in the other Group G fixture, a 2-1 victory would have been enough to see Ghana through to the last 16 but that result never looked like materialising on the back of the chaotic scenes leading up to the game. On Tuesday Ghana’s players refused to train because they had not been paid their appearance money for taking part in the World Cup, and it later transpired that a furious row had broken out between James Appiah, the manager, and Kevin-Prince Boateng. The Ghana Football Association claimed that Boateng made “vulgar verbal insults” towards Appiah.
A more serious incident is alleged to have taken place involving Sulley Muntari, whom the GFA accused of “an unprovoked physical attack” on Moses Armah, one of its members, during a meeting. In a statement released before the Portugal match, the GFA said that Muntari and Boateng had been suspended indefinitely with immediate effect. Muntari has yet to comment. Boateng confirmed he had been sent home but denied the charges. “Sulley Muntari and I were just joking around, and the coach stopped the session and sent us back to the changing room,” he told the German magazine Sport-Bild. “Afterwards I went to him and asked what he had against me and he started yelling. He insulted me. There were words like: ‘Fuck off.’”
Appiah did not go into details about the players’ conduct and tried to claim that the incidents had no bearing on the performance against Portugal. “The decision to send two players home this morning has got to do with the [disciplinary] issues,” he said. “At this level you look at a team, not individuals, anything that will benefit the whole team, that is what I did with this decision. The incident happened a few days ago. As to the time I made it, I don’t think it had any impact on the game.
“The boys played well, we had some chances, I don’t think it had any effect on the players.” The Ghana manager confirmed that the players had received their appearance money, which arrived via a chartered plane from Africa. “As you are aware, they’re normally paid before the competition starts. Unfortunately, ours don’t happen that way and resulted in a few issues, including the team not training the whole of Tuesday. As to the amount, I don’t think it’s an issue that should interest anyone. What the players requested was what was paid to them.”
Appiah said that the door had not been closed to Muntari and Boateng: “It depends if they are performing well.”