Kevin-Prince Boateng (AFP)
Accra - Ghana's government said on Wednesday that it is sending more than $3 million in cash on a chartered plane to Brazil to pay appearance fees for its Soccer 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 such today," Yamin said. "It's as a result of the decision as to which mode of payment should be affected in this current 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 knockout stages though they must beat Portugal in their final group game on Thursday to have any hope of doing so.
Both they and Portugal are on one point while Germany and the United States, who also play each other on Thursday, have four.
Ghana's camp was rocked earlier this week by reports in Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper accusing GFA president Kwesi Nyantakyi of agreeing to fix matches. He has denied the claims.
Ghana, which is West Africa's second-largest economy, has recently been struggling with a 10.8 percent budget deficit and a rapidly depreciating currency.
Yamin defended the cash payment to the Black Stars, saying a successful football team is crucial for national morale.
"Football is the passion of the nation and everybody seems to turn against government, not this government, but government if anything goes bad against the team," Yamin said.