Black Stars midfielders, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari have been sacked from the team camp in Brazil.
Citi Sports editor Gary Al-Smith who is in Brazil reports the two have been thrown out for various acts of insubordination in the last few days.
It is unclear how the sacking of the two will impact on the rest of the team who will be playing a major game on Thursday. The team had earlier threatened to boycott the Ghana-Portugal match if their appearance fees were not paid on time.
On Tuesday, a seemingly innocuous training ground incident turned sour when the two former teammates had a go at each other.
Reports say that in the exchange of words that ensued, coach Kwesi Appiah misconstrued Boateng’s words as being meant for him.
The coach, reports say, shot back at Boateng, who then swore at him.
Later, there were multiple reports that Muntari also assaulted a member of the Ghana team’s management committee, Moses ‘Mospacka’ Armah.
Two key things also happened on Wednesday.
The coach publicly admitted at the mandatory pre-match press conference that the money issues threatening to wreck Ghana’s final group game with Portugal was eating him up.
“Every coach will not want to be in this situation where players are requesting for money when you have such an important game to play,” Appiah said.
“It’s not the best for me. For the past two days I have had sleepless nights. I have not been able to close my eyes,” he added. “Normally you sort this out before a major tournament. You can’t keep telling the players the money will come when it hasnt come. It is unfortunate I find myself in this situation.”
It is not clear how the issues of bonuses not being paid to the players on time play into this scenario, but Citi Sports can report for sure that Kwesi Appiah asked both Muntari and Boateng to leave camp after Wednesday’s training session.
However, the two asked to be given their appearance fees – which was still yet to arrive in a chartered plane from Ghana – before leaving.
The money eventually touched down in Brasilia at 8:30pm local time. [Click here for the full story and details]
After the monies were distributed, the two players were informed that they could leave the camp by 8am Thursday morning.
Ghana need to beat Portugal later on Thursday to stand any chance of leaving Group G alive. But the self-destruct button has been hovering around the team for weeks.
Al-Smith reports that the bickering over bonuses started when the team pre-camped in Miami, but it was successfully quelled by senior players who believed assurances from the state that the monies will be paid electronically before the World Cup.
However, after the defeat to the USA and draw with Germany, the players began getting antsy and declared that they would not accept electronic payments altogether.
The amounts – which are appearance fees for being part of the 23 selected for Brazil – to be given them are between $75,000 and $100,000 each.
Last week, the Ghana FA had a hard time denying reports of player revolts allegedly because of poor hotel arrangements. And in the last several days, the team has also been rocked by match-fixing allegations leveled at the FA boss and two others.
The camp is a mess, and it is likely that Boateng and Muntari’s exit is the just the opening of a Pandora’s box.
In any case, Muntari would not have played against Portugal, as he is serving a suspension due to an accumulation of yellow cards.
The Ronaldo-led Europeans have been quietly regrouping after a poor start themselves and the last thing Ghana need is to have two of their best out of the team.
But the move from Appiah is typical of his style, say sources spoken to by Citi Sports.
Nicknamed ‘Silent Killer’ by his players soon after taking charge of the team in April 2012, Appiah has a reputation for being quietly ruthless, as evidenced in the axing of Jordan and Andre Ayew from the 2013 African Cup of Nations’ Cup.
Appiah also made sure that Kevin-Prince Boateng’s return from his self-imposed retirement was done on his terms.
As this piece was being filed, Citi Sports understands that the inevitable calls by some influential people in government and the team are asking the coach to at least delay his decision.
So far, he’s sticking to his guns.
Report: Gary Al-Smith/citifmonline.com/Sao Paulo/Brazil