Ghana AFCON players clinch $25,000 each

ACCRA – Despite losing the final, Ghana's Black Stars will receive handsome financial rewards in appreciation for their performance at the just-concluded African Cup of Nations (AFCON).

"On behalf of the people of Ghana, I want to express gratitude to the Black Stars for their impressive campaign at AFCON 2015," President John Mahama told players at a brunch meeting held at the presidency on Tuesday.

"The Ghana National Petroleum Authority has asked me to announce that they would give a reward of $25,000 to each of you as a reward for the great work you have done," he said.

Each of the 23 players on Ghana's national squad, as well as members of the technical team, will receive $250,000.

The reward does not include the $3,000 each player will receive as an "appearance fee" at the tournament. Each player also receives $5,000 per game.

On Sunday, the Black Stars lost the final 9-8 in a spot kick against Ivory Coast's national squad, the Elephants, following 120 minutes of play.

It was the national team's best showing at the continental competition in recent history.

"The Black Stars have restored our confidence in the senior national football team," said President Mahama."They improved from match to match; nobody can take away anything from the team's performance."

He announced that another major Black Stars sponsor, Unibank, had donated $200,000 to be shared between the players.

"There are other sponsors who have come forward," Mahama said. "We are finalizing the rewards, but they look quite promising and handsome to me."

The president said full details of the award packages would be relayed to the team's captain at a later date.

Players arrived to a rousing welcome at Accra's Kotoka International Airport on Monday, where they were met by Vice President Kwesi Amissah Arthur along with thousands of fans.

Not all Ghanaians, however, are excited about the generous rewards.

Many took to social media platforms to express their anger over what they described as the government's misplaced priorities.

"In proper democracies, a president will not and cannot make a financial commitment after a budget has been read!" Tete Nokobi wrote on Facebook.

"But in Ghana, the president can commit the nation to financial pledges and the money gets paid," he fumed.

"Is that the most prudent use of our scarce resources?" Nokobi asked.

Abla De-Souza was similarly irked by the move.

"Paying the Black Stars or [for] electricity, which is more important?" he wrote on Facebook.

"Football and the Black Stars have always been placed above the needs of all Ghanaians," De-Souza lamented.

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency