GHANA BRING WORLD CUP FANS HOME DESPITE QUALIFYING
About 1,000 Ghanaian fans who were sent to South Africa by the government to cheer the national team have been sent home, despite the team qualifying to the next stage at the World Cup.
Fans were sent to cheer the Black Stars at the group stage of the tournament.
Some fans have already arrived home, while others are to fly back on the morning of 26 June – the day Ghana play the USA.
The Ghanaian government said the budget did not cover fans staying on.
However, many Ghanaians have demanded that the total amount spent on fans who were sent to South Africa be made public, reports the country's Joy Online website.
A statement signed by Deputy Information Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa stated that the “government indicated that it had budgeted for 15 days and though the Black Stars have qualified for the next round it was imperative for the supporters to be brought back home since government wants to keep within its budget and maintain prudence.”
It said the government would have to “incur extra cost” if the supporters were allowed to stay for a few more days.
The fans budget included visa fees, hotel accommodation, food, medical support, transportation and match tickets.
Some 430 fans have already arrived in Ghana and the final batch is expected to return by Saturday 26 June, hours before their team takes on the USA in the first knock-out round of the World Cup.
The Black Stars are the only African team to qualify from the group stages in the first World Cup to be held on the continent.
Mr Ablakwa's statement also promised that the government would be “accountable to the people of Ghana and assured that once the fans return and the final computations are made, the cost of the entire exercise will be made public”.
He said the trip had been partly funded by corporate sponsorship and stressed the government “did not wholly look to the taxpayers' money to fund this exercise”.