Despite the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finishing in February 5, Ghana assistant coach Gerard Nus was not able to return home to Spain until this weekend due to a disagreement over pay with the Ghana Football Association (GFA).
The former Liverpool Under-21 coach worked under Avram Grant at the tournament as Ghana reached the semi-final stage, alongside ex-Sunderland and Leicester City star Jamie Lawrence, who also had not been paid by the GFA.
Lawrence decided to return to the UK after the tournament, but Nus decided to stay and fight for the money he was owed. He staged a sit-in since February in Accra, refusing to leave the country until he had been paid by either the GFA or the Ministry of Sports.
The 32-year-old had refused to return to Europe until all monies owed him were settled, even after receiving an initial $10,000 in the last two weeks. The dispute looked like it was finally settled on Saturday, but just when everything was thought to be coming to an end, Nus was given an unexpected and unprecedented bill for his accommodation.
“Yesterday they paid me and a flight ticket was booked for me - I was so happy to go back home,” Nus told Goal on Sunday morning.
“I [didn’t expect] this. When it was time to check out, the hotel told me that there was a bill that I’m supposed to pay. I was prevented from leaving and the ticket is gone. I had to sleep on the sofa in the lobby for the night. This morning, the hotel duty manager allowed me back to my room.
“I have been coming here for more than two years and I never had to pay any of those expenses. Why does it have to be different now?
“If for whatever reason, the people that booked this hotel for me – the GFA – changed the condition and they wanted me to pay for something, they should have told me that on the first day when I came to this hotel; not on the last day when you are leaving.
“[GFA official] Alex [Asante] told me on Friday afternoon that I have to pay for all expenses from laundry, coffee, snacks between meals, or whatever, for the seven weeks that I have been here, and that they will only pay for the room and for the meals. This is around $1,000.”
Initially, Nus, the assistant technical director of Spanish outfit Rayo Vallecano, had taken a stance to stay on until fully paid. Later, he decided to leave, but only with the extra money, in addition to the initial $10,000 he was paid, plus an official letter stating when the GFA intends to pay the remainder.
“I have more money now but no letter,” he said.
“I have decided to leave because it’s been seven weeks, also I have to work because the club has been waiting for me for a long time, I miss my family, and many other reasons.
“I’m still expecting some money from the GFA but the question is ‘do I believe I’ll get that money?’ At this moment, I cannot believe so many things. With the current situation, let’s just say that the amount that I have received now is okay for me to go back.”
The issue was finally resolved on Sunday evening when the hotel intervened to waive Nus's outstanding balance. The hotel's owner was not happy with the amount of negative publicity his premises was receiving and agreed to let Nus leave without either the coach or the GFA paying the remaining charges.
The GFA also paid for a new flight ticket for Nus, who has since arrived back in Spain.