BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Ghana threw Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng out of its World Cup squad for disciplinary reasons on Thursday, plunging the team into further chaos just hours it was eliminated from the tournament in a 2-1 loss to Portugal.
Just a day after resolving a possible player mutiny over World Cup bonus payments, the Ghana Football Association released two separate statements saying two of the country’s stars had been “suspended ... indefinitely from the Black Stars with immediate effect.”
Muntari was suspended “in the wake of his unprovoked physical attack on an executive committee member of the GFA and a management member of the Black Stars, Mr. Moses Armah” on Tuesday, one statement read.
The other statement said Boateng was dropped from the squad because of “vulgar verbal insults targeted at coach Kwesi Appiah” during a training session this week.
“Boateng has since showed no remorse for his actions which has resulted in the decision,” the statement added.
Appiah played down the impact of the two absentees in Thursday’s loss to Portugal.
“At this level, you look at the team, not one player, you always have to look at it like that,” Appiah said. “The incidents happened some few days ago ... I don’t think it had an impact on the game.”
Boateng, who plays for German club Schalke, told German newspaper Sport Bild that he accepted his suspension and wished his teammates well for Thursday’s game against Portugal — “but no one should think that I insulted the coach or did anything wrong.”
Boateng said he and Muntari had been joking with each other during training Wednesday. The coach asked why they were laughing, and then sent Boateng to the dressing room, he added.
“After training I went to the coach and asked him if he had a minute for me. I asked him what he had against me,” Boateng was quoted as saying. “Then he started shouting at me.”
Ghana, a quarterfinalist in 2010, needed to beat Portugal in Brasilia on Thursday to stand any chance of reaching the second round from Group G after picking up one point from its first two games.
However, Ronaldo’s 80th-minute goal earned Portugal victory and left Ghana bottom of the group.
Muntari was suspended for the Portugal match anyway after collecting two yellow cards.
Ghana’s World Cup campaign was already in turmoil following a row over appearance-fee payments that squad members had been promised but had not yet received heading to Brasilia for their final match.
The country’s cash-strapped federation was forced to ask FIFA for an advance on the $8 million prize money it is guaranteed from playing at the World Cup to pay outstanding debts to players.
But the world’s governing body said Thursday that the issue had been solved and that Ghana’s players no longer required advance payments from FIFA.
“What the players requested was paid to them,” said Appiah, who said Wednesday that a plane carrying cash sent by Ghana’s president was being flown to the Brazilian capital.
World Cup prize money — which ranges in Brazil from $8 million for being knocked out in the group stage to $35 million for winning the title — is normally paid after the tournament.
Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this story.