The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif, has made clarifications on his ministry’s recent $25 million demand to the government ahead of the 2021 AFCON.
During the early hours of yesterday, the Ghanaian social media space was sent into a frenzy when news broke out that the Ministry of Sports was demanding $25 million from the government for the Black Stars for the yet-to-be commenced 2021 AFCON.
But speaking in an exclusive interview on Citi TV, Mustapha Ussif indicated that the budget demand isn’t only for the Ghana Black Stars like many have alleged but rather for all the national teams in the country.
According to the minister, the information sent out earlier was misleading. He indicated that the $25 million budget is meant to cover all the expenses of all the national teams including their bonuses, tournament participation, and qualifiers of all the national team.
“As a country, we are blessed to have qualified for the AFCON and once we have qualified, we have to start preparing ourselves,” he said in an interview on Citi TV. “I have realized that we normally wait until the year of the tournament before we start preparing,” he said.
“So I had a discussion with the President that I want to move away from that, aside the AFCON.
“We also have eight games to play as qualifiers, all those 8 games have to be played this year, and aside from them, if we qualify, we also have to participate in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“We have the women international window, we have the CHAN.”
“The budget we have done is not only for Black Stars. It is for all our national team activities from now till 2022. We have 8 world cup qualifiers, the CHAN team will be playing qualifiers, the women’s team as well, and we have to participate at the AFCON, and if we qualify for the world cup, we will participate there as well,” he said.
“Currently, it is an estimate that we have done for our programmes and activities this year, all the way to 2022.
“We have a program as a Ministry, not only for Black Stars. Let’s shift our focus from Black Stars, Black Stars. It is for all national teams,” he said.
“We have U-17, U-20, U-23, and the senior national teams and same for the women and all these teams have tournaments to play.
“We have done estimates for all our national teams and we think that we need about $25 million to cater for all their expenses.”