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Sports News of Friday, 22 May 2020


Kwasi Appiah's exit not personal - Kurt Okraku

Ghana Football Association president Kurt Okraku play videoGhana Football Association president Kurt Okraku

Ghana Football Association (GFA) president Kurt Okraku has bemoaned the public outcry of former Black Stars coach James Kwasi Appiah over unpaid salaries and bonuses.

Appiah has been vociferous in demanding for an outstanding five-month salary and winning bonus for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) triumph over Sao Tome and Principe during his time at the helm.

The 59-year-old, who coached the Black Stars between 2017 and 2019, has gone as far as threatening to haul the FA to Fifa. The national football's governing body, though, has denied owing the coach.

It’s most unfortunate, honestly speaking; I would not want the FA, for that matter the government, to come into the public space in that manner," Okraku told Ghana Web.

“Indeed we initiated the processes. Everybody, including Kwasi Appiah, knows the processes that are involved.

“He knows the FA engaged him but the FA doesn’t pay his salaries. It’s the Ministry of Youth and Sports that is responsible for the payment of salaries of all our national team coaches and they do it via sponsorship from GNPC [Ghana National Petroleum Corporation].

"It’s a bit like a triangle, so there are processes one has to go through. At times it delays and at times it doesn't and ends quickly.

“It’s unfortunate he went public, but it’s his singular prerogative. And let me say it’s not only Kwasi Appiah who is owed, Stephen Appiah is owed, Richard Olele Kingson is owed too and even Avram Grant was owed but it’s been cleared."

Appiah's tenure as Ghana boss ended last December after the Executive Council of the Okraku-led new GFA administration decided against renewing the coach's contract.

Under Appiah at Afcon 2019, Ghana exited the tournament at the Round of 16, the first time of failing to make the quarter-final since 2006.

It was the coach's third major disappointment at a major tournament as the Black Stars suffered a first-time group stage elimination at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when Appiah led the team for the first stint between 2012 and 2014. At Afcon 2013, Ghana reached the semi-finals.

“It will be most unfortunate [if the decision was seen as personal] because it could sound like a disrespect to all the 12 members on the Executive Council and other stakeholders who were engaged before that singular decision was taken," Okraku explained.

“We all know that we woefully didn’t perform at the Afcon [2019], we all know the happenings from the Brazil 2014 World Cup, we all know all the things that have happened before.

“So when the council put the motion into vote, it was 12 out of 12 - a big 'no'.

“It was not about the president of the FA not wanting somebody."

Appiah has since been replaced by CK Akonnor as Ghana coach.