Derek Boateng, a member of the team that represented Ghana at the 2012 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) played in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea has revealed that the team nearly boycotted the semi-final against Zambia due to rumours of juju by Andre Ayew.
According to Boateng, the team was allocated 45 minutes for warmup, however, they ended up using only 15 minutes because some of the players vowed not to go on the pitch before Andre Ayew.
Per reports, some of the Black Stars players felt Andre Ayew, who scored the decisive goal in the 2-1 quarter-final win against Tunisia had strangely “bewitched” them, and the only way they could destroy his supposed spell was to force him on the field before the rest of them exited the dressing room.
“Before that game, we had 45 minutes to do the warm-up. The Zambians were on the field and we were also supposed to come out,” the former Fulham man was speaking on GTV’s ‘Saving our Passions’ programme.
“Kwesi Appiah was the one to take us through the warm-up and he was standing at the entrance of the tunnel. I came on the field along with Jonathan Mensah or somebody else,” he added.
“We were standing and waiting for the rest of the players. Everyone was saying they will not go on the field first until Andre Ayew comes out.
“For about 15 to 20 minutes, we were just standing there and without doing the warm-up. So the only warm-up we did in the game was for about 10 to 15 minutes. A lot of the players said they will not be the first to go on the field until Dede Ayew did.”
“So you see some of them sitting on the toilet, some standing on the side, and some sitting. So it was very disturbing. Goran was the coach and he could not understand what was going on. So after the game, I heard a lot of voices. I flipped up and blasted everybody. After the game, Nyatankyi (the GFA President) came to me and asked me what happened and I told him what exactly happened,” Boateng added.
The Black Stars lost the semi-final 1-0, courtesy a late strike by Emmanuel Mayuka. Zambia went on to win the tournament after beating Côte D’Ivoire on penalties in the final, while Ghana finished 4th, losing 2-0 to Mali in the 3rd place match.
After the tournament, then head coach of the team, Goran Stevanovic wrote in his report that there is the need to change Black Stars players’ “mentality about using black power to destroy themselves”.
“After losing to Zambia, there arose so many accusations amongst the players during my meeting with them. I have learnt great lessons from African football and also about Ghanaian players’ behaviour on and off the field.”
“We all need to help in changing some players mentality about using black power to destroy themselves and also make sure we install discipline and respect for each other,” part of the report stated.
Following Ghana’s disastrous campaign at the recent AFCON in Cameroon, similar reports emerged and former Asante Kotoko gaffer, Bashir Hayford advised the FA to probe into the matter and find a resolution.
“I am an experienced coach in this country and everybody knows my pedigree but the alleged issue of “juju’ at the camp of the Black Stars is worrying and must be investigated,” he said on Asempa FM on the Ultimate Sports Show.
“Players are now threatening that they will not honour call ups again due to the ‘juju’ claims. This is gradually ruining the Black Stars and it is about time the Ghana Football Association and the government investigate and fights this canker.”
“The team needs serenity to succeed but if such stuff continues to happen at the camp, then disaster always awaits us because this is not the first time such incident has been reported,” he added.