Ghana has expelled Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng from its World Cup squad for alleged acts of indiscipline.
A statement on the Ghana Football Association’s website says both players’ “accreditation for the 2014 World Cup has been withdrawn with immediate effect.”
The Black Stars take on Portugal on Thursday, with both teams still having an outside chance of progressing to the knockout phase of the tournament.
Ghana need to beat Portugal in Brasilia and hope a winner emerges from the match between Germany and the USA.
The third timers’ journey to Brazil has witnessed moments of turbulence since the team were notified their World Cup budget would be halved from their previous earnings in 2010, when they reached the quarter-finals.
On Wednesday, the national government sent in excess of $3m in a chartered plane to Brazil to pay the squad following their threat to boycott their final group match against Portugal if they did not receive their money.
The meltdown continued after Muntari, who would have been suspended for today’s game against Portugal anyway for picking up two yellow cards in the opening two games, was reported to have slapped a senior GFA official during a heated meeting, while Boateng “verbally abused” coach Kwessi Appiah.
Schalke defender Boateng has however told German magazine Sport-Bild he and team-mate Muntari were “joking around” before they were sent home from the World Cup.
“Sulley Muntari and I were just joking around and the coach (Appiah) stoped the session and sent us back to the changing room,” Boateng said.
“Afterwards I went to him and asked what he had against me and he started yelling. He insulted me.”
Boateng, who though states he accepted the suspension, disputes the GFA’s aforementioned reasons.
“No one should think I insulted the coach,” he added. “I’m traveling now and I wish my colleagues all the best for the match against Portugal.”
Ghana is making its third successive appearance at the World Cup since debuting in Germany in 2006. They’ve only reached the knock-out stage once (in South Africa) and even went as far as progressing to the quarter-finals- the third African nation to have done so.