Asamoah Gyan, a former captain of the national senior soccer team, Black Stars, has described as hypocritical the decision by workers to embark on industrial action over unpaid salaries and conditions of service but criticise footballers for demanding what is due them when they represent the country in tournaments.
Making an argument about fairness, Gyan’s initial response to whether people should be careful how they speak to or deal with footballers or personalities since they may not know what the public figures may be going through was “sometimes, I feel it’s jealousy”.
According to him, every worker deserves his wages and hence is bewildered as to why there is brouhaha whenever footballers called to the national team talk about winning bonuses.
“The national team is being paid bonuses. One journalist comes up with a story and people jump on it,” Gyan said in an interview with Dentaa monitored by GhanaWeb. “This is our career, I’m a footballer, I need to be paid. Why do doctors go on strike? You only attack footballers because they’re taking bonuses but when you’re not being paid, you go on strike.”
Gyan, who recently engendered national conversation with his readiness for the 2022 World Cup, said there have been instances where people would secretly support them but openly jab them for same.
“…behind the scene, those same people will tell you ‘you have a case’. But when they go on social media, they demonstrate hypocrisy,” the footballer remarked while adding that the attitude has been normalized.
The Black Stars came under intense backlash during the 2014 World Cup when the government sent a plane with $3 million in cash to Brazil to appease the players who were agitated over unpaid appearance fees. They had insisted “they wouldn’t take anything but physical cash,” Ghana’s Deputy Sports Minister at the time, Joseph Yammin said.
After this incident, some soccer fans paid keen attention to the amount given to Black Stars players as appearance fee and winning bonus. In most cases, some people argued that the amount involved was overly high as they cited the quotations of some other countries in their comparative analysis.
Others have also argued that appearance fees and winning bonuses should be scrapped. In 2021 when President Akufo-Addo said the government, together with Cooperate Ghana, was raising $25 million for the Black Stars’ participation at AFCON and the 2022 Qatar World Cup, the announcement divided opinions.