After not being able to hold the Africa Cup of Nations trophy in 23 years, the Cote D’Ivoire stunned their fans with a win against Ghana on Sunday. Now, their president, Alassane Ouattara, has announced that he will award all 23 members of Les Elephants with houses in addition to their cash rewards.
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According to the Ivorian government, President Ouattara will give a house worth $52,000 to each football player in addition to a cash reward of equal value.
But the football players aren’t the only ones being rewarded for the AFCON win; members of the team’s technical staff and the Ivorian Football Federation are also receiving six-figure rewards.
In all, Sunday’s big win — which saw the Ivorians garner nine penalty kicks to the Black Stars eight — is costing the government roughly $3 million in rewards.
And Ghana wasn’t left empty handed.
The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), the team’s sponsor, will reportedly give the Black Stars $25,000 each. The reward has caused controversy with some football fans who say that the money is being misspent and should instead be put toward the country’s power problems.
Ghana Sports Minister Mahama Ayariga defended the expenditure, saying, “For those who think that GNPC rewarding the boys with US$ 25,000 is too generous, I wish they were in the stadium when the whole of Malabo [Equatorial Guinea] was throwing stones and bottles [over Ghana’s win] and the armed forces and police were deployed to come and save our lives.
“I wish they were in the stadium and then they will know whether US$ 25,000 is worth that kind of experience. I don’t even think it is enough.”
Either way, the win for the Ivorians has reportedly given the country an added boost, with the President saying that the country’s win has unified Cote D’Ivoire.
Watch Cote D’Ivoire’s AFCON win against Ghana here: