Ghana’s budget for the upcoming World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil has been significantly downsized from the amount at their disposal for the last competition in South Africa four years ago.
The West African country’s government has approved US$9.6 million for the campaign, a total that would be paid if the team reaches the final. The team’s budget for the last World Cup was $19 million.
Ghana, this time, will spend $ 4 million on preparations and the first three group games with another $5.6 million available to play expenses and players’ bonuses should the team advance further in the tournament.
Sports Minister Elvis Afriyie Ankrah said the allocation means the players, who have been seeking an increase in appearance fees and bonuses, will earn the same as they did during Ghana’s run to the 2010 quarter-finals.
“Various numbers came up but those were proposals from the players,” he said. “When you go into negotiations, you put a figure down, but in this case, the government – which is the paymaster – determines what has to be paid. Based on our discussions, the government insists that we should pay the same bonuses as the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. For the record, the 2010 figure was $75,000 because we are all going through challenges. The President and the rest of us have cut our salaries by 10 per cent.”
Ankrah said he’s confident the players will understand and accept the terms put together by the government.
“I am sure in the coming hours or days, we will hear from the players themselves, so I don’t want to pre-empt what they will say,” he added. “All I can say is that they are also Ghanaians. They are patriotic and understand the situation as reasonable and rationale people, especially when you engage them and explain things to them.”
And, former English player and manager John Barnes believes the mental aspect of the game is holding back the continent from progressing past the World Cup quarter-finals.
Ghana, Senegal and Cameroon are the only African teams to have reached the quarter-finals.
In 1997, the legendary Pelé predicted that an African nation would win the World Cup by 2000.
That has not happened and Barnes has a reason.
“What Pele saw was the physical attributes that African players have, but what he probably didn’t take into consideration is the mentality necessary to win the World Cup,” said Jamaican-born Barnes. “I suppose that’s where African and other developing soccer countries such as Jamaica have to improve. Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba has shown that African players can compete with anyone. The mentality is important, the discipline and desire and the determination and the respect.
“What I’d like the African players and those from a lot of the other developing soccer countries to do is to play for their countries with the same desire, respect and humility that they have when they play for their European clubs.”
Barnes, who made 79 appearances for England’s senior team, is an analyst for African TV broadcaster, SuperSport, and spends a lot of time in South Africa.