Almost seven months after the Black Starlets qualified for the Under-17 Africa Nations Cup, players of the team are yet to receive their qualification bonus from the Ghana Football Association (GFA).
Graphic Sports investigations indicate that the players were promised $1.500 each after they qualified for the continental showpiece last September but the GFA had failed to honour its side of the bargain.
This has sunk morale in camp ahead of the tournament in Gabon next month but the head coach of the side, Paa Kwesi Fabin, refrained from commenting on the bonus issue, except to say that they were not focusing on money but to book a ticket to the World Cup.
“Our priority is to get to the qualification stage (semi-final) of the Africa Cup”, the coach said in an interview with Graphic Sports yesterday, adding that they were focused on achieving that target at the tournament.
The former Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko trainer noted that preparations were going on smoothly and that the team was scheduled to leave for Gabon on May 5 to acclimatise and train under floodlights because the competition will be played under floodlights.
Coach Fabin said even before they embark on the trip, his phone had been inundated with calls from scouts and agents who are interested in signing on the Starlets players and that had been the basis for advising the players to work hard and remain focused.
“Scouts and agents are calling me everyday to sign on the players but I tell them I am only the coach and not their manager but I tell the boys that if they concentrate and perform at the competition they will get bigger contracts”, the coach said.
“I have assured them that the Under-17 is just a stepping stone and that they should not focus on money now”, he said, and praised the FA for its support throughout their preparations, including facilitating a trip to Tanzania to help sharpen the players.
Meanwhile, attempts at getting a reaction from officials of the GFA proved futile as the communications director Ibrahim Sannie Daara did not answer our calls.