Stars in Mongomo …Will train today

StarsairportTHE Black Stars arrived at their Africa Cup of Nations camp base in Mongomo early yesterday morning, four days before their tournament opener.

The Black Stars flew in from Seville, Spain where they camped for ten days to prepare for the tournament.

“The team arrived here in Mongomo about 6am Equatorial Guinea time. No training today as players need to recover from the long journey from Spain to Malabo and then Mongomo,” Ghana FA spokesperson Ibrahim Sannie-Daara confirmed.

Head coach Avram Grant will train for the first time today.

Ghana’s first match will be against Senegal on 19 January at the Mongomo Stadium and then play Algeria four days later.

The final Group C match will be against South Africa on 27 January at the same venue.

Meanwhile, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) have dismissed media reports that they have made contributions to double the bonuses of the Black Stars for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

Reports are rife that the confirmed flat payment of $5000 to be made by the Sports Ministry to each Black Stars player for each game at the 2015 AFCON regardless of the result has been doubled with the contribution from GNPC.

This meant, each Black Stars player will now receive $10,000 instead of the $5000 agreed upon.

But Chief Executive Officer of GNPC – the headline sponsors of the Black Stars – Alex Mould has dismissed these claims, insisting no such arrangement has been made.

“The GNPC package is quite simple. We take care of the coach’s salaries and the friendly games they play,” he said.

“We do not take care of the bonuses of the Black Stars; that is the prerogative of government however, if GNPC is called to support the Black Stars in any way we will dig deep and go to our board and our board will most likely give approval for us to support them in any way.

“But our package with them remains the same, we have not had a conversation with the Ministry on this and as far as we know, that is being handled at the Ministry level.”

The bonus structure for the Black Stars have been revised following Ghana’s disappointing showing at the 2014 World Cup which has been widely attributed to agitations by players over delayed payment of appearance fees.

The team instead of being handed winning bonuses in excess of $10,000 per match will now receive a flat amount of $5000 for all the games they play at the 2015 AFCON regardless of the result.

In another development, former Ghana international Rev. Osei Kofi has said the Black Stars have the blessing of all ex-national team players to win the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.

It is believed that the four-time African Champions have been jinxed by the former winners of the tournament after government failed to fulfill promises made to them decades ago.

Government fulfilled the promises made last year, and the ‘wizard dribbler’ said the current team has their blessings to end the trophy drought.

“It is our only national team despite what happened (in the past),” the 1963 and ‘65 Afcon winner told Accra-based Joy FM.

The former Kotoko winger called on Ghanaians to render unconditional support to the coach and the team to succeed.

“I know he (Avram Grant) is a good coach, so let’s give him the benefit of doubt and support him so that he will be the first white to lead Ghana to win the Africa Cup of Nations. It is not beyond our reach.”

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