Brasilia: Ghana midfielders Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari have been suspended from their World Cup squad with immediate effect after they clashed with coach Kwesi Appiah and a Ghana Football Association (GFA) official.
The GFA, which said on Wednesday it had solved a row over player appearance fees, confirmed the decision on its website (www.ghanafa.org) ahead of the team’s Group G game against Portugal in Brasilia on Thursday. 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, Moses Armah, on Tuesday 24th June, 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Boateng had shown “no remorse for his actions” and both players had their World Cup accreditation withdrawn.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. “No one should think that I insulted the coach or did anything wrong,” he told the website of a German magazine.
“Yesterday, there was an incident during training. Sulley Muntari and I had a joked 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.”
Ghana missed training in Brasilia on Tuesday because of the row over fees, with the players conducting a series of meetings to discuss the matter and the nation’s president, John Mahama, later stepped in to try to resolve the dispute.
Appiah said a consignment of money was on its way to the Brazilian capital by plane and that cash was required as many of his squad did not have bank accounts in Ghana.
The coach also said the situation had left him suffering many sleepless nights and should have been sorted long ago.
This is the second time Ghana have expelled Muntari from a major tournament for disciplinary reasons. He was sent home just before the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens for breaking a curfew and did not play for Ghana for almost two years until just before the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.
In 2010 he was left out of the squad for the African Nations Cup finals in Angola for disciplinary reasons and last year had to write an apology letter to coach Appiah after he swore at him after being substituted during a World Cup qualifier against Lesotho.
Boateng was enticed by the prospect of playing for Ghana at the 2010 World Cup and committed his international career to the Black Stars ahead of Germany, where he was born and for whom he played at junior level.