Black Stars captain Asamoah Gyan and team-mate Andre Ayew have defended the decision of the team to boycott training during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil due to the delay in the payment of appearance fees.
Both players were interacting with media men ahead of the 2015 African Nations Cup qualifier against Uganda and attempted to provide answers on why the players reacted the way they did in Brazil.
Andre Ayew spoke first; highlighting the fact that the players went to Brazil even though promises had been broken with regard to the timing of paying the money.
“I think we should put things into perspective. We started our preparations from Amsterdam through to the US and all those trips, we were always being promised that the money is coming and we did not say anything and went into the tournament. In some countries players refused to take the plane without their monies. We went to Brazil, played two games, gave our best; it is true we couldn’t beat the U.SA due to little mistakes. After the Germany game, we still didn’t get our money and asked what is happening. We didn’t understand. We play our hearts out to raise the flag of our country Ghana high. Every player that gets the chance to play at the World Cup, even if you tell him tomorrow it [appearance fees] is for one cedi or two cedi, I think he will take his boots and run to come to Brazil.”
Ayew denied that the team decided not to train for two days; noting that the spread of half-truths doesn’t help anyone; least of all the players and their families.
“It gets to a point where it’s like a job, you have negotiations and everything is set but things end up not working that way. You look at yourself and ask what is going on. We did not decide not to train for two days. It was once and even that day we had a discussion with the coach about that because we had arrived from Maceio and everybody was tired. So when we don’t know the real truth, we shouldn’t be talking like that because it affects the team, players and a lot of people around.”
The Marseille midfielder also described comments that the players are taking too much money as without basis, since not all the players in the team are on good wages at their clubs.
“When we talk about the $100,000, everybody says these players are taking too much. Honestly, maybe the money that Asamoah Gyan, Dede, Agyemang Badu make at their clubs is not the same as what [Stephen] Adams who is playing in Ghana or somebody is making. It is not the same life as European players like Germany. They take higher amounts and you cannot compare somebody who has 50 people behind him and not having those kind of salaries and you tell him to do this or that.”
Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan agrees with Andre Ayew’s comments and added that he is a taxpayer with businesses which inviolve expenditure exceeding the $100,000 appearance fee quantum.
“As a captain I do agree with what my colleague said. Let me put it straight. We are Ghanaians. Sometimes from the outside, people think we just come to Ghana and play for the money. I didn’t want to say this, but sometimes you have to say things. Talking about me personally, I pay tax. I’ve got a company in Ghana; I’ve got about 200 employees who are all being paid. I shouldn’t be saying this in front of everybody but sometimes we bring cars to Ghana and pay duties for them which are more expensive than the $100,000 that people are talking about every day.”
Gyan reiterated that unlike in Europe where the family is about the spouse and children only, the extended family system in Africa means that one person doing well has a lot of dependants, thus increasing expenditure in terms of seeing to the dependants’ welfare.
“So like Dede said, in Europe, your family is about you, your wife and children but if anybody agrees with me, in Ghana, your great grandfather is your family, you’ve got a lot of people depending on you, even your friends are your family. I think we are from Africa and we know our situation. We don’t take the money just for pleasure but for our families, friends and everybody. Football is our job and the money is what we toil for.”
Referring to the training boycott, Gyan asked what would happen if a journalist doesn’t get paid when he is supposed to and what action the journalist would take, adding that such disagreements are normal in life.
“If a journalist or anybody with a family depending on him, works and doesn’t get paid, he is told may be next month. The time comes and it continues and they don’t pay, what decision will the journalist take? So things happen. Sometimes, we learn from our mistakes. May be we shouldn’t have taken such decision but it happens in life.”
The Ghana captain asked for the events of Brazil to be consigned into the dustbin of history; adding that the Black Stars has an emerging group of young players that can achieve a lot for the nation.
“What matters is that, we have to forget about the past and think about the future. We’ve got a lot of young players in the team who are capable of doing great things for Ghana. The old players who have been there, this is our generation and we do accept criticisms on things which went wrong.”