A Black Stars Charity Fund?

I wrote this piece in the heat of the furore surrounding the $15K bonus to the Black Stars before they trounced Egypt 6:1.

I was one of many Ghanaians that were upset over the amount given to the Black Stars as winning bonus for their victory over the Egyptians. Of course it was a 6 star performance and I lost my voice cheering the team on. What I said last week was that if you are a serious footballer, and you don’t find any greater motivation to play in a World Cup either than the financial reward of a winning or qualifying bonus, then to me you are a…I was tempted to say a fool but I settled for, an unambitious professional who does not deserve to kick the round leather.
To play in the World Cup is by far every players greatest dream; winning it puts them in a different level all together. People have said Messi is not the greatest of all because he has never won a world cup. Indeed the greatest players in Ghana never had the chance of playing in the world cup and it remains one of their biggest disappointments.

So to me the lads won the game because the want to play in the World Cup. Yes, cash is important (if only you guys knew how much in need of cash I am right now!) but for a player there is a bigger motivation. Seriously, I still maintain that if you are a footballer wanting to win laurels and to make a good name and you think being offered a chance to play at the greatest sports event in the World is not enough for a motivation? Do we know how many players in the world have “not playing/winning a World Cup” as low points in their careers?

Our national team apparently earns the highest bonus in world football. During the Euros in 2012, according to the Daily Mail in the UK, “the bonus payments will be heavily weighted towards the team reaching the knockout stages. In addition to the bonus money, England’s players will each receive appearance fees of £1,500 for a win, £1,000 for a draw and £750 for a defeat during the tournament. The players are set to pay these fees and personal appearance fees, worth an estimated £10,000-£15,000 each, to the team’s charity fund”.

That was a rich, first world country. And this was about a tournament; not qualification. Plus, the players have a charity. Our players play alongside these same players week in, week out. Some of our players even earn more than some of their English counterparts.

Our richer neighbours, Nigeria, pay $5,000 as winning bonus! 5000! It used to be $10,000 and was slashed. We say we have no money; we say things are hard in Ghana; we say we don’t have money to pay our nurses and other sectors of public service but we can rake out $18,000 x 23 (minus handlers). Are we for real? I bet there are a dozen of sports in Ghana whose annual budget falls way below the winning bonus of Black Stars for ONE match!

Let’s bear in mind that foreign based players are among the best paid professionals anywhere in the world…and the Black Stars is full of them. Why should we give to guys who earn at least $5000 a week so much money as bonus? Don’t forget some even earn $45, 000 plus a week, with a few others close to the 100K mark. Take a drive through Accra’s poshest communities and that is where you will see the mansions that these players duel in. Bottom line: they are bloody rich already!

I have been told that we have people in the FA who stand to benefit from the largesse so will certainly find nothing wrong with dolling out these monies to these guys. A big shame! No one cares about Ghana anymore. People care less what happens to all of us as long as they are sorted out.


These guys don’t even give a hoot about charity or giving back to the community that made them who they are! We know all these players got their break when they were selected to play for our junior teams. All of them! Name them. Most also got a resuscitation of their careers when playing for us. And now it is as if we beg and pay them to wear the proud jerseys of our team? Yes let’s thank them for making us proud.

What I am hoping for is that our rich footballers will form a charity and choose a course to support. I would have said they look at supporting academies but that will eb a business venture in which loads of others have their hands in already. So how about a charity to support the cardio centre at Korle bu? After Anas’ expose I don’t think we should do any childrens’ homes. The cardio centre will be fantastic. Whatever it is, it will be awesome if these lads formed a charity and gave back to society. They know how much each earn. It should be easy to draw a scheme where those that do not earn too much at the clubs will keep more of their bonuses but nonetheless contribute something.
This may just eb Kwame Gyan’s wet dreams. But I sure hopes someone else considers it and tries to bring it to reality.


About Kwame Gyan

Kwame Gyan is a trained journalist who has taken a break to practice corporate communications but still has an eye on the profession he loves most. He started writing in junior secondary school whiles his broadcasting career started at Radio Univers whiles a student at the University of Ghana in 2001 and has gone on to have stints with Joy FM and CITI FM. He was a columnist in The Globe, an Accra-based freely-distributed newspaper. His articles cutting across entertainment, politics, sports and pure fiction are featured in some other newspapers and blogs. He may be reached via Kwame.Gyan@gmail.com.
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