Newcastle winger Christian Atsu has been talking about how he and his Ghanaian teammates are full of pride when playing for their country and are desperate to at last bring home the African Cup of Nations trophy this time.

Atsu played in Saturday’s match as Ghana beat Mali 1-0 to ensure they will be in the quarter-finals, the final group game on Wednesday will see Ghana finish top of Group D if they avoid defeat against Egypt.

However, many of their fans still hold a grudge against the players, following an incident at the 2014 World Cup finals.

A number of players were refusing to play against Portugal unless they saw the appearance money in their bank accounts first.

They won’t be the first and definitely won’t be the last African country where money has been a bone of contention between the squad and the relevant FA.

Despite this, Christian Atsu says that ‘with or without money’ the Ghanaian squad will be doing their best to win.

Though he does add that ‘whatever is due us must be given to us’, which seems fair enough.

Though rather amusingly, especially for Atsu and those other teammates playing at the top/richer levels of club football, the Newcastle player also declares that ‘The state will not care for us when we go on the pension’!

Christian Atsu:

“We want to win something for Ghana.

“We have been in this competition for a long time and always go home without that cup.

“Ghanaians are not happy and we are determined to win this cup and it has nothing to do with money.

“With or without money, we will do our best to win the cup for Ghana.

 “If we play we deserve to be paid because its our profession. The state will not take care of us when we go on the pension.

“So whatever is due us must be given to us – but we are not saying that without the money we will not play for the country.

“Money is secondary and all we want to do is to win the competition for the Ghanaians to be happy.“