In a recent revelation, North Tongu MP Sam Okudzeto Ablakwa exposed a shocking $8.5 million (GH¢105 million) budget for the Black Stars' preparation and participation in the ongoing 2024 AFCON tournament in Côte d'Ivoire. The MP had previously highlighted a GH¢27.9 million expenditure on the Black Stars between 2022 and 2023.
Despite persistent efforts by Parliament and Ghanaian sports journalists to obtain this critical financial information, both the Youth and Sports Minister and officials at the Ghana Football Association (GFA) had been unwilling to disclose the AFCON budget.
The intercepted documents, dated January 2, 2024, reveal that the Ghanaian government and the GFA jointly agreed on the colossal budget, seeking a part payment of $5,071,840.36 from the total sum. This budget, separate from the GH¢27.9 million spent on the qualifiers, raises questions about financial prudence in a country grappling with economic challenges and seeking an IMF bailout.
The AFCON winner's prize money is $7 million, making the disclosed budget even more startling, as it indicates a potential loss of over $1.5 million even if Ghana had won the trophy.
Comparatively, the budget for Zambia, another participating country, was significantly lower at $2.1 million, prompting concerns about the justification for such an extravagant expenditure in a country undergoing debt restructuring.
The revelation has intensified the call for transparency and accountability, with Ablakwa asserting that Parliament will investigate this budget when it resumes on February 6, 2024. The intercepted documents, as promised, are expected to be disclosed at 3 pm the following day.