1. Two of Ghana’s star players, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari, have been sent home from Brazil on the day of their team’s crucial match against Portugal.
2. Reporter Gary Al-Smith, who has been covering the Ghanaian team, broke the news this morning.
3. A pair of statements on the website of the Ghana Football Association confirmed that they have both been suspended indefinitely.
The statements said that 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 24th June, 2014 during a meeting.”
Boateng, meanwhile, was suspended “following Boateng’s vulgar verbal insults targeted at coach Kwesi Appiah during the team’s training session in Maceio this week.”
Muntari currently plays for A.C. Milan, while Boateng plays for Schalke 04. Both have previously appeared in the English Premier League for Portsmouth. Muntari would have been suspended for the final group match regardless, as he had recieved two yellow cards in the previous matches.
4. The pair had reportedly been in a fight two days ago, which spilled over into further acrimony.
6. It comes after a wild few days for the Black Stars, who have been hit by disputes over unpaid appearance fees and match-rigging allegations.
The team had reportedly threatened to boycott its final group match unless the fees were paid, which lead to the Ghanaian government chartering a plane to send $3 million in cash to Brazil.
They were also hit by a report from the London Daily Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches programme that senior officials in the Ghanaian FA had agreed to have the team play in matches organised by match fixers. (The GFA denied any knowledge of the match fixing plans, and said that they had asked police to investigate.)
9. Ghana plays Portugal today, while the USA takes on Germany, with all four teams in Group G still able to qualify for the round of 16.
The Ghana team’s disarray could work in the United States’ favour, as Ghana has a superior goal difference to Portugal — meaning that if Portugal wins, it has more ground to make up even if the USA loses to Germany.