Ghana's ministry for sports is unhappy with media reports that it paid ‘slave wages’ to the national male under-17 team following their participation in the recent Wafu Zone B championship in Niger.
On Saturday, a 3-1 one penalty defeat to Nigeria after a 1-1 regulation time draw denied the Black Starlets gold plus qualification ticket for next year's Africa U-17 Cup of Nations in Tanzania.
According to some media outlets, members of the team were given between GH¢ 50.00 (€8.7) and Gh¢ 250.00 (€43.6) as bonuses upon their return to Ghana.
"The attention of the Ministry of Youth and Sports has been drawn to a story on an online portal making rounds on other online portals with the above headline (Black Starlets paid slave wages for Wafu B failure)," a statement signed by head of public relations Elvis Adjei-Baah reads.
"We wish to state unambiguously that the story is not a true reflection of what transpired.
"Unfortunately, the story has been deliberately skewed to create disaffection for the ministry."
According to the statement, each player was paid a "per diem allowance of $70.00 (€60.0) and $100.00 (€85.8) for each member of the technical team for 15 days".
It says moneys paid to members of the team upon their arrival were transportation "fares", taking into consideration the "distance to their various destinations" of travel as the team dispersed upon their arrival in Accra.
"The ministry therefore finds it surprising that such a gesture will be misconstrued to be wages paid to the players and the technical team," the statement continued.
"The Ministry urges the public to disregard the publication, since it is a deliberate and malicious attempt to discredit the Ministry of its generous efforts for the U-17 soccer team."