Trouble-makers Muntari and Boateng sent home as Africans crash out
Ghana exited the World Cup this morning (Singapore time), after finishing bottom of Group G at the end of a tumultuous three days overshadowed by the expulsion of Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng and a training-ground strike.
The 2-1 loss to Portugal in Brasilia left them a long way from the confident pre-tournament predictions about improving on their quarter-final placing four years ago.
They picked up a single point, their hopes dashed almost from the outset as they lost their first Group G game to the United States.
Although there was a much-improved performance and a scare for group favourites Germany in a pulsating 2-2 draw, the wheels came off as the players refused to train on Tuesday in a bid to try and force the payment of promised appearance money, which arrived 24 hours later on a chartered plane from Ghana.
Then midfielders Muntari and Boateng were suspended and sent home from their World Cup squad with immediate effect after they clashed with coach Kwesi Appiah and a Ghana Football Association (GFA) official.
The GFA confirmed the decision on its website (www.ghanafa.org) on Wednesday, ahead of this morning's match against Portugal in Brasilia.
Ghana lost 2-1 and were eliminated with one point from three matches.
Boateng was sanctioned following "vulgar verbal insults targeted at coach Kwesi Appiah during the team's training session in Maceio this week", the GFA said.
Muntari's suspension was handed down "in the wake of his unprovoked physical attack on an executive committee member of the GFA and a management member of the Black Stars, Mr Moses Armah, on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 during a meeting".
Muntari had punched Armah during a meeting over the unpaid money as senior players rounded on team officials for not keeping promises, a team source added.
Boateng had shown "no remorse for his actions" and both players had their World Cup accreditation withdrawn.
Boateng denied swearing at the coach but said he accepted the suspension and wished his colleagues well for their last Group G game.
"No one should think that I insulted the coach or did anything wrong," he told the website of German's Sport Bild magazine.
"Yesterday, there was an incident during training. Sulley Muntari and I had a joke over a duel. I said that he had handled the ball. He said 'no'. Then I laughed and said, 'Hey, you're the referee or what?'. Then we both laughed.
"The coach stopped the training and asked why we were laughing. We said that everything was okay. He then sent me to the changing room.
"After training, I went to the coach and asked him if he had a minute for me. I asked him what he had against me. Then he started yelling at me. He insulted me."
Despite his team's exit, Appiah insisted that Ghana had left behind a good impression and would go away to build for a brighter future.
"I think Ghanaians will be pleased with the players we've brought in and the way we played," he said. - Reuters.