Focus on Football in Ghana

Ghana is a country with a rich sporting heritage. There is little doubt that of all the sports in the country, none moves the nation as football does.
Football remains the most famous sport in this country. The game was introduced in the country at the close of the 19th century and it gained traction too fast that a football club had been formed by 1903.

Brief History of Football in Ghana

Football in Ghana comprises the Men’s and Women’s Premier League at the topmost levels of the pyramid. The Men’s Division One league is the second tier.
 A total of 49 teams feature in the Division One league divided across the three zones. The divisions run down to Division Three and then the Ghana Amateur Football Club Owners Association also knows (GAFCOA) coming in at the bottom end of the pyramid.

Ghana National Football Team

Ghana’s national team is called the Black Stars. The name is adopted from the Black Star of Africa found in the nation’s flag.
The five-pointed star was a symbol introduced by Marcus Garvey as a symbol of African emancipation from slavery. The symbol is used in the country including the coat of arms and flag.

The Women’s National Team is referred to as the Black Queens. It’s ranked amongst the best-performing ladies teams in Africa and has competed in all of the Women’s World Cup since 1999.
Andre Ayew is the Black Stars’ current captain while Asamoah Gyan is the most capped player with 109 caps.

Charles Akonnor is the national team head coach. The affairs of the country’s football are run by the Ghana Football Association, GFA, which is the oldest football association in Africa.

Kurt Okraku is the president of the GFA. In a bid to redress the recent dwindling fortunes of the national outfit, the Association enlisted the services of Bernhard Lippert as the Technical Director in October 2020.
The 56-year old German is tasked with handling the technical aspects of the team.

International Tournament Participation & Achievements

Africa Cup of Nations

Black Stars became the first African team to win the Africa Cup of Nations in 1963. The team achieved the feat on home soil after a 3-0 win over Sudan.
Ghana’s third continental triumph in 1978 marked a third success for the West African giants who won the trophy for keeps. The team was the first African nation to do that.
Black Stars have won the competition on four occasions and have been runner-up in five.

World Cup

Ghana has participated in three different World Cups. Her first participation came in 2006. The nation then made it into the consecutive World Cup qualification in 2010 and 2014.
Their best run came in 2010 where the Black Stars became only the third African side to make it to the quarter-finals stage.

FIFA Suspensions & International Bans

Ghana has never been on the wrong end of FIFA statutes but risked an imminent ban in June 2018 for alleged government interference in local football matters.
The FA boat was rocked by an investigative piece that brought to the fore the rot in the country’s football with officials of the Ghana Football Association, referees, and some players culpable.
The allegations led to the resignation of Kwesi Nyantakyi as the association’s president as well as CAF’s first vice president.

Leagues & Tournaments

The Ghana Premier League is the top male professional football division. The Ghana Women’s Football League is the country’s equivalent of Women’s football. The Division One League is the country's second-tier football league, below the Ghana Premier League.
Currently, 48 clubs compete in three zones in a league format comprising 16 clubs in each zone.
Winners of each zone gain promotion to the Premier League. 

The top league is made up of 18 clubs. Hearts of Oaks lead in the way with 19 league titles compared to Kotoko’s 15. Other than the GPL, Ghanaian clubs participate in the country’s FA Cup, the country’s top knock-out tournament.
Hearts of Oak pride in 10 titles of the FA while Kotoko has nine. The Ghana Super League is another competition played in Ghana football. Founded in 1996 the clash pits the winners of the Ghana Premier League and the Winners of the Ghana FA Cup. Aduana Stars are holders of the Cup.

Major Clubs & Rivalry (Derby)

Rivalry in football has always provided an additional twist to games and this is true amongst Ghanaian clubs. Here every local game is a hotly contested match up if not a derby.
Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak contest in the biggest rivalry in Ghana football. The tie is hugely regarded as a derby based on the pair historical rivalry despite the club coming from different cities.
Kotoko is based in Kumasi, a populous town South of Ghana while Oaks is based in the capital of Accra. The two clubs command the largest following in the country and everything is at a standstill when they clash.

Other than the Kotoko- Oaks derby, The Gamatse derby features Hearts of Oaks against Great Olympics. There is also a fierce game pitting Kotoko against Corner Stones. Both teams reside in Kumasi.

Ashanti Derby is another famous derby duel played between Ashanti Gold and Asante Kotoko.

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