Members of Ghana’s U-23 national football team, the Black Meteors, have vented their frustrations over what they believe is ill-treatment being meted out to them by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Normalisation Committee in the lead up to and during their AFCON U-23 last round qualifying match against Algeria.
The Ghana team flew out to Algeria on Sunday ahead of the return leg of their qualifying series on Tuesday in Setif following a 1-1 result in Accra on Friday.
But the Meteors, who are chasing a first Olympic ticket since 2004, have had their preparations for this game marred by poor travel arrangements which have left some players fuming.
Apart from being asked to buy their own air tickets to come honor the game, the team also had to ration a rickety Coaster Bus with the women’s national team, the Black Queens, and often needed to wait for close to an hour after training for the bus to drop off the Queens first before coming back for them.
The Algerian U-23 team leave the stadium in the VIP bus while the Black Meteors depart in the other bus.
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In contrast, their counterparts, the Algerians, were bused around in a comfortable VIP bus upon their arrival in Ghana.
“They’re treating the Algerians better than us, as if when we go there these guys will treat us any better,” one player told Citi Sports.
“This is disgraceful, it’s like they don’t care about this game. The pitch wasn’t even watered. Just putting water on the pitch too, they didn’t do it,” another cried out.
On Sunday, members of the technical team of the Meteors left their M-Plaza Hotel base to the airport in rented taxis because the bus assigned the entire team was too small to accommodate both players and technical staff and their luggage.
This was after the technical team were forced to drop 4 players from their squad of 22 to 18 because of the ministry’s unwillingness to cater for the flight of the entire contingent.
Despite the challenges, the Meteors will be hoping to qualify ahead of the Algerians for the AFCON U-23 tournament to be staged in Egypt from November 5.
The top 3 in the 8-team tournament will represent Africa at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.