The Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS) have vehemently denied spreading reports that some Ghanaian journalists have been left stranded in Egypt following the shocking premature exit of the Black Stars from the tournament after losing 5-4 on penalties to Tunisia in the round of 16.
Paltry of the Black Stars squad along with the technical team and some management members arrived in the country from Egypt last Wednesday dawn after some of the players joined their clubs for preseason from Egypt, but some journalists who probably went to Egypt to cover the tournament by private arrangements by their respective media houses are still in Egypt despite Ghana’s elimination, and reports have gone rife that the said journalists wish to return as soon as possible but are left stranded in Egypt, but the sports ministry have denied such reports.
“First of all, on stranded journalists; there is no truth in that, there is no single journalist who is stranded in Egypt here, there is no single Ghanaian brought here by Ministry of Youth and Sports that has been left stranded”, Elvis Adjei-Baah, spokesperson for the MOYS clarified in an interview with Fox FM on Focal Sports.
Another issue bordering Ghanaians is the fact that supporters who were flown to Egypt by the government of Ghana through the MOYS are still in Egypt awaiting flight arrangements to return after the Black Stars were knocked out of the tournament five days ago, and Adjei-Baah has been swift to explain why the nostalgic Ghanaian supporters would have to wait till the final match on July 19 before knowing their fate.
According to the MOYS spokesperson Baah, all of the return flight tickets for those supporters and government assigned journalists had been scheduled for July 19 (when the final match would be played), 20th and 21st July, 2019, a predetermined period to cover the entire duration of the tournament as officials were confident that Ghana could go all the way through to the final. Unfortunately, the Black Stars were eliminated prematurely, and to make economic sense, waiting till the end of the tournament for the supporters to return as scheduled earlier is much more economical as against the costs involved in rescheduling the ticket dates.
“The Agency contracted by the ministry of Youth and Sports to do the ticketing arrangement for the supporters and of course journalists we brought here to work for Ghanaians back home, because had the vision and believe that we would get to the ultimate which is the end of the tournament, all of the return tickets were scheduled for the 19th [July], 20th and 21st, but unfortunately we were eliminated earlier so we had to ensure that the people we brought, return home in time safely”, Baah told Fox FM.
According to Elvis, allowing the supporters to stay in Egypt till the tournament ends makes much economic sense according to the cost analysis the MOYS has done than to change the flight schedules which involves astronomical financial figures which will not help in managing the Ghanaian tax payer’s money well.
“In the course of changing the [flight] tickets dates, we realized that the figures that we were getting in changing the tickets were frightening, all theses supporters including the media we brought, the figures were huge, so we did cost analysis and of course accommodation for both the supporters and journalists we brought had been secure to the end of the tournament, so there is no problem with that, and by next week Sunday the tournament will end”, he explained.
Elvis Adjei-Baah claimed that for the sake of prudent use of money and protection of the public purse, they realized that keeping the supporters and taking care of their well being till the tournament ends is much cheaper and that is what they will do.
“We did a cost analysis that economic wise, if they (the supporters) stay here till the end of the tournament which is some few days away, that is much cheaper than changing the return ticket dates, so prudent use of money and protecting the public purse came into play and we realized that it makes economic sense, because we are working with money belonging to Ghanaians”, Baah argued.
Currently, the journalists and supporters who were flown to Egypt by the government are based in their respective hotels and being fed by the government as per the words of the sector spokesperson, waiting to return after the tournament ends on July 19.