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Sports News of Thursday, 28 May 2020


Willie Klutse slams money-focused footballers

Former Ghana international Willie Klutse Former Ghana international Willie Klutse

Former Ghana international Willie Klutse has criticised current members of the national team, claiming players are more focused on personal gains at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) than winning the trophy.

The West Africans have endured a series of misses since last conquering the continent in 1982.

Last year, the Black Stars' attempt misfired woefully as they suffered a Round of 16 elimination at the hands of Tunisia, their first time of failing to reach the quarter-finals since 2006.

"I see players projecting themselves for their foreign contracts and forgetting about the agenda of the country," Klutse, a member of Ghana's side which won the nation's third of four Afcon titles in 1978, told Joy News.

“Right now, we are [concerned] about not winning the Afcon trophy in 39 years. Is that the mentality of our players? Are they also thinking like that? Are they hungry to win the cup for us or they are just trying to play in the Africa Cup of Nations and the World Cup to better their contracts outside the country?

“If they have this mentality, there is no way we can win the Africa Cup of Nations now. Because the mentality back then is different from the mentality that I see this time around.

“They only come and their mentality is on money. They are going to the Africa Cup of Nations and they want to meet the president and bargain how much [they] are getting. They have their [own agenda] because the focus is on the money and not the cup."

Without a doubt, Ghana's biggest money-related controversy at a major tournament in recent times remains the embarrassing 2014 World Cup episode in Brazil.

Ahead of a must-win last group game against Portugal, players boycotted training sessions in protest over unpaid appearance fees and bonuses.

It had to take a presidential order to fly over $ 3.5 million [€3,185,829.4] to the South American nation on the eve of the all-important match to calm agitations in camp.

Ghana ultimately lost 2-1 to Portugal, finishing last in the group and exiting the tournament.

It was the first time the West Africans had failed to progress past the group stage of the World Cup in three appearances.

Unsurprisingly, the team was greeted with apathy on their return home, amid boos and jeers.

The public anger became apparent in games as fans largely boycotted national team matches.

In a 2017 Afcon qualifier against Uganda, the Black Stars played in virtually an empty stadium despite playing at their revered Baba Yara Stadium home ground in Kumasi.

The next Afcon is set to come off in Cameroon next year.