Appiah defends player suspensions

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KWESI-APPIAHBRASÍLIA, June 26 – Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah said Thursday the country’s football chiefs were right to order home star players Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari insisting the decision did not cost a place in the last 16.

The Black Stars’ Asamoah Gyan scored to level 1-1 with Portugal in Brasilia, and missed a golden chance to take the lead, before Cristiano Ronaldo struck the winner.

Had they snatched victory, Ghana would have progressed to the knockout rounds for the third straight World Cup despite the loss of Boateng and Muntari after bust-ups with management.

Muntari, 29, is accused of attacking a member of the management team, Moses Armah, while Boateng, 27, is said to have verbally abused national team coach Appiah, the Ghana FA said.

“The decision to send two players home… has got to do with disciplinary issues,” said Appiah. “At this level you look at a team, you don’t just concentrate on at just one player.”

“If you want to build a team and instil discipline it’s always important that you set things right so that it doesn’t affect the team in the future,” he added, saying the decision was taken on Wednesday.

The coach said he felt his team had played well enough to win at the Estadio Nacional even without the missing big-name players, whom he said could return to the national fold in time.

“I don’t think it had any impact on the game. The boys played well. They had a few chances but we couldn’t take them.”

The news filtered out on Thursday, a day after the Ghana government said it was airlifting $3 million (2.2m euros) to Brazil to resolve a financial dispute with players, who boycotted training earlier in the week in protest.

“This money has got to do with appearance fees and as you are aware all appearance fees are normally paid before the competition starts,” said Appiah.

“Unfortunately, ours didn’t happen that way.”

“What the players requested was what was paid to them,” he confirmed.

“No coach will love to be in such a situation. Every coach would love to have his players concentrating on the games, not on money or other issues.”

Appiah was upbeat despite failing to reach the knockout rounds, as the side had done in 2006 and 2010, saying the 2014 squad was less experienced and he was building for the future.

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