Sulley Ali Muntari, an ex-Black Stars midfielder after several years in Europe made a return to the Ghana Premiere League signing for current league Champions Accra Hearts of Oak.
The 37 year-old who won the UEFA Champions League in 2010 with Inter Millan also played for Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia in the Arab Gulf.
His return to domestic football last month was undoubtedly one of Hearts’ most significant transfer for a high-profile player who had spent the majority of his career in England, Italy and Spain.
But, with his vast experience and pedigree having made three world cup appearanges, one would think he is the highest paid player with huge monthly pay cheque.
However, it has emerged that Muntari is paid only GH₵1 per month at the Accra-based club, making him the league’s lowest paid player.
Dr Nyaho Nyaho-Tamakloe, a member of the Hearts board of directors, said Muntari met with the club’s board chairman, Togbe Afede XIV, some five months before the player joined the team and requested a significant sum of money that the Phobians couldn’t afford.
Muntari, who had a stellar career spanning almost two decades eventually backed down on his demands and unexpectedly provided his services for free.
”Sulley originally contacted myself and Togbe Afede that he wanted to play for Hearts. He came down and we had a chat with him, but for the amount of money he wanted in dollars, we told him point-blank we did have even though we would be excited to have him.
”So, he left for South Africa and came back. This time around, when he [Muntari] returned and came to us, he said he wasnt going to charge anything, but Togbe said no because it was not done that way in business. Togbe Afede said record must be there to show that you’ve done something [worked and earned a wage/salary] and then Sulley said he’ll charge us GH¢1 a month”.
He claimed that the player’s requests were “too good to be true,” because they couldn’t believe that a person who had made some unreasonable demands a few months prior would now play for free.
Muntari’s offer exemplified his selflessness, according to Dr Nyaho-Tamakloe, and his presence in the Hearts team had been extremely beneficial to both the players and the technical team, who were able to benefit from the 37-year-old player’s experience.
”Recently Togbe visited them at the training grounds and called Sulley to ask him how much he was going to charge the club to which Sulley said GH¢1. So, Togbe used that opportunity to advise the boys on what selfless duty was all about,” Dr Nyaho-Tamakloe added.