THE two-year contract of newly appointed Black Stars coach, Charles Kwabla Akonnor, is in limbo following a latest decision by the Sports Ministry to suspend the official signing until further notice due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to highly placed sources, the Sports Minister, Isaac Asiamah, took the prudent decision to save the nation huge costs involved in paying the salary and signing-on fee of Coach Akonnor.
As a follow-up to an exclusive story carried by the Daily Graphic last Saturday in connection with Akonnor’s contract, Graphic Sports investigations revealed that the twists and turns suffered by the contract so far was worsened at the weekend after the Ghana Football Association (GFA) slashed down Akonnor’s salary by $5,000 under the prevailing circumstances.
Initially, it was agreed that the new Black Stars coach would be paid $25,000 monthly salary, $10,000 short of the amount received by his predecessor, Kwasi Appiah.
However, upon further considerations, perhaps due to the absence of football action following the COVID-19 pandemic, the sources said the GFA decided to reduce Akonnor’s salary to $20,000.
Aside the salary, another contentious issue that delayed the contract signing had to do with the coach’s signing-on fee. Unlike Kwasi Appiah who attracted a $200,000 signing-on fee due to his pedigree, the Ministry reportedly offered Akonnor $100,000, which was challenged by Black Stars headline sponsor, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
The sources said after a wider consultation, the GFA decided to offer Akonnor $50,000 as signing-on fee, which the Stars coach declined, dragging the process even further.
As if that is not enough, the two-year contract also contains a six-month probation which the Stars coach is not enthused about.
Further checks by the Graphic Sports indicated that though Akonnor has been handed his appointment letter which took effect from February 1, 2020, he was yet to receive any salary due to the ongoing tussle.
Akonnor, 46, took over from Kwasi Appiah and was scheduled to assume duty with the Black Stars against Sudan in a double-header last month but CAF postponed the matches at the last minute due to the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Before then, he embarked on a trip to Europe to interact with some selected Ghanaian players who are plying their trade abroad.