Not for the first time, Ghana’s national beach soccer team Black Sharks, face an uncertain and tense few days leading up to their crucial AFCON 2016 qualifier against Kenya in Mombasa.
With just nine days to go before the first leg at the Pirates Beach in Mombasa, the team risks potential elimination without even kicking a ball. Following their midweek training session in Accra, it was revealed that not a single ticket has been purchased for the contingent of players and officials.
The President of Beach Soccer Ghana Yaw Ampofo Ankrah was so furious at the situation and apparent nonchalance of the sports authorities that he declined to grant an interviews after training.
Instead, the Protocol Officer of the association Kusi Awere described the situation as very strange and unfortunate.
“This is not the first time we are being taken for granted yet we always follow the right procedure and channels. Why must national team athletes be forced to buy their own food, water and take trotro to students hostels after training simply because we are being told there’s no money for the team”.
Mr Awere added that he is shocked that the Ministry of Youth and Sports claims it does not have $39,000 for the all important national team assignment.
” I can tell you why the President of the association does not want to talk because he feels let down. He has exhausted his personal funds and logistics in supporting the team from day one and we even have outstanding debts to settle. How can this be when it’s a national assignment? “.
This latest saga is bound to raise more questions about the commitment of the Ministry led by Hon Nii Lante Vandepuye to so called lesser supported sports.
The Protocol officer also confirmed that the funds have been approved by the sector Minister who has issued directives to his deputy Hon Vincent Oppong Asamoah to expedite the release.
“This is not the first time we are camping, feeding and preparing for a national assignment without official support and when we complain we are rather made to look bad. God will judge all of us”.
Meanwhile a full compliment of 18 players completed the training session at the Laboma Beach Soccer arena under the directions of head coach Daniel Kotey and assistant Theophilus Armah.
The Black Sharks are seeking a second consecutive Beach Soccer Afcon qualification after making a maiden appearance in Seychelles.
Ghana is ranked 7th in Africa and boasts of the Beach Soccer Goal King record with 17 goals courtesy of striker Alexander Adjei in Seychelles.