Football

Ghana airlifts $3.75m to black stars

Ghana's government said yesterday that it is sending more than US$3 million ($3.75m) in cash on a chartered plane to Brazil to pay appearance fees for its World Cup squad.

Deputy Sports Minister Joseph Yamin told radio station Citi FM in Accra that the government chartered a plane to fly from Ghana to Brazil on Tuesday after the Black Stars demanded they be paid their appearance fee and rejected having the money wired to them.

"The players haven't been paid their appearance fee as yet," Yamin said.

"It's the result of the decision as to which mode of payment should be affected for this World Cup."

A statement from the Ghana Football Association (GFA) said President John Dramani Mahama personally assured the players that they would receive their money.

"The government is pre-financing the payment of the Black Stars appearance fees which will be reimbursed when Fifa's prize-money for Ghana's participation in the World Cup is paid after the tournament in Brazil," the statement said.

The Black Stars still have an outside chance of reaching the knock-out stages though they must beat Portugal in their final group game tonight to have any hope of doing so.

And Asamoah Gyan said Ghana will go "all out" to win their closing game against Portugal.

Ghana have certainly not left spectators short of entertainment during the tournament so far, but only have one point to show for their efforts.

A dramatic opening 2-1 loss to the United States was followed by an action-packed 2-2 draw with Germany - a game in which captain Gyan struck to give his country a 2-1 second-half lead.

The upshot is Kwesi Appiah's team must beat Portugal in Brasilia tonight, while hoping there is a winner in the match between Germany and the United States and that they end up on the right side of the goal-difference calculations.

To make the equation even more intriguing, Portugal need the same outcome in their favour to have any chance of progressing to the last 16.

"We will go all out because a draw is not going to be enough for us," Gyan told the GFA's official website.

"We just have to stay focused." - Wire Services.

World Cup