In a surprising revelation, North Tongu Member of Parliament, Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwa, has exposed the clandestine budget of $8.5 million (GHS105 million) allocated by the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and the government for the Black Stars’ campaign in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) held in Ivory Coast. This undisclosed financial plan, now brought to light, has ignited discussions and raised concerns among both football enthusiasts and taxpayers.
Amidst heightened anticipation for Ghana’s national football team to end a 42-year trophy drought, the 34th edition of AFCON ended in disappointment as the Black Stars exited at the group phase, managing only two points from three games.
Prior to the tournament, Sports Minister Mustapha Ussif had faced criticism for withholding the budget for the team, leaving football enthusiasts, analysts, and taxpayers in the dark about the resources allocated to the national team.
Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwa’s recent revelation has unveiled the previously mysterious budget, confirming that both the GFA and the government agreed on a substantial $8.5 million for the AFCON campaign. This disclosure follows Ablakwa’s previous revelation regarding the GHS27.9 million taxpayers spent on the Black Stars between 2022 and 2023.
Ablakwa clarified that the disclosed $8.5 million budget is separate from the $1.5 million spent on the 2023 AFCON qualifiers, shedding light on the various financial components contributing to the overall expenditure on the national team.
In the aftermath of the Black Stars’ early elimination and the subsequent dismissal of coach Chirs Hughton, the GFA has established a five-member committee to recommend a new coach to the Executive Council. The looming deadline for coaching applications is set for February 2.
As the football community grapples with the revelation of the $8.5 million budget, questions about transparency and accountability in sports financing have surfaced. The aftermath of the AFCON campaign and the coaching changes will undoubtedly influence the future trajectory of Ghana’s football landscape, prompting a closer examination of the financial decisions made in pursuit of the elusive trophy.