Appiah denies bonus row
Kwesi Appiah (AFP)
Natal - Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah denied his players' performance in a 2-1 defeat to Group G rivals the United States was caused by player unrest but admitted the Black Stars are still awaiting full payment of bonuses.
Ghana were stunned after just 30 seconds when Clint Dempsey finished off a great move down the left by weaving through the Africans' defence to beat Adam Kwarasey at the keeper's far post.
Andre Ayew struck an 82nd minute equaliser for the Black Stars but only four minutes later second-half substitute John Brooks headed a late corner through the defence and past Kwarasey to send the huge USA support at Estadio das Dunas wild.
Ghana, quarter-finalists in 2010, now face a huge task to qualify from a group which includes Germany and Portugal. Earlier, Germany thumped Portugal 4-0.
Appiah, the first Ghanaian to coach the side at the World Cup, admitted Ghana's players had not received all of their bonuses.
But he played down suggestions - spread by social media - there was unrest in the camp.
"I'm surprised to hear this," he said. "I mean, fine. Some of the monies haven't been paid yet, but that has got nothing to do" with their performance.
"If you look at the performance today, it's got nothing to do with money. We created a lot of chances but we didn't take them. But the USA took their chances."
Indiscipline and unrest over unpaid bonus money to players is not uncommon to African teams playing at the world's biggest football tournament.
Cameroon came close to a World Cup boycott a week before boarding the plane to Brazil, after threatening not to travel if certain player demands were not met.
A deal was struck, but the side coached by German Volker Finke fell to 1-0 to Group A rivals last week in Natal.
Ghana next face Germany in Fortaleza on June 21, and USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann - who led the Mannschaft to third place as coach in 2006 - warned: "I think Germany is the favourite in this Group. Ghana will face Germany next and they have to get a result.
"We watched the Germany game today and I can only give them huge compliment. Impressive, no doubt about it."
Ghana came to Brazil hoping to improve on their performance in 2010 when they narrowly failed to make the semi-finals when striker Asamoah Gyan missed a penalty against Uruguay after Luis Suarez stopped the ball with his hand on the line.
Uruguay went on to win the penalty shoot-out, and later claimed a fourth place finish.
Appiah looked downcast after Monday's game, but said it's not over yet: "Looking at the performance, we did not do badly. I don't think we disgraced ourselves.
"We still have two games to play, so we're not out of it yet."