Ghana over the years has excelled in a wide variety of sporting activities such as Boxing and Athletics. It is the nation’s performance in football however that continues to draw the most acclaim.
Nicknamed the ‘Black Stars’ the senior National Team of Ghana has taken part and won prestigious international tournaments such as the African Cup of Nations four (4) times in 1963, 1965, 1978, 1982.
The Black Stars would however have to wait till 2006 before making their maiden appearance at a FIFA World Cup , when they took part in the Germany 2006 world cup. The Stars were impressive in their first outing winning against a highly fancied Czech Republic squad and a highly ranked US team even though they lost their opening match to the Azurris of Italy and were finally eliminated by the Seleҫӑo of Brazil at the second round of the competition.
The team nevertheless bounced back in stronger fashion in 2010 when the Mundial was held for the first time on African soil in South Africa. The Stars went all the way to the quarterfinals losing to the Uruguayan team in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 tie in regulation time. The match is remembered for the penalty miss of star striker Asamoah Gyan in the last minute of extra time that would have handed victory to the Ghanaians and a historic qualification to the semi-finals of the competition.
Ghana still managed to exit the tournament as the best African team in the first World Cup held in Africa, and the only African team that managed to go beyond the first round of the competition, thereby saving the pride of the continent.
After a dismal showing in Brazil 2014, the Stars were unable to qualify for the Russian edition of the FIFA World Cup. The team under the guidance of coach Kwasi Appiah is making every effort to stage a comeback at QATAR 2022.
It is still worth noting that Ghana has won FIFA competitions at the U-17 World Cup level in 1995 when the Black Starlets defeated their Brazilian counterparts in Ecuador to become world juvenile champions in football and in 2009 made history as the first African team to win the U-20 Soccer World Cup organized in Egypt , where the satellites were once again victorious on penalties against a highly fancied Brazilian side.
Men’s football therefore remains the most popular and strongest aspect of Ghana’s sporting endeavours internationally. Beyond the exploits of the national teams, Ghana is renowned for producing famous clubs such as Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak. The country has also produced high profile footballers such as Abedi Pele, Anthony Yeboah, Osei Kuffour, Stephen Appiah, Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari who have featured in the most competitive leagues in Europe. The most prominent player amongst them, Abedi Pele won the African player of the year three consecutive times from 1991-1993 and became the first Ghanaian to win the UEFA Champions’ league with Olympique Marseille in 1993. His sons André and Jordan Ayew are active members of the current Black Stars.
It is also estimated that, at the moment roughly six Ghanaian footballers are plying their trade in the Spanish La Liga. Thomas Partey of Atletico Madrid has been hailed as the most successful African player ever to feature for that club. His compatriots in Spain include Mubarak Wakaso of Alavés, Mohammed Salisu of Valladolid, as well as Raphael Dwamena and Emmanuel Boateng of Levante.
All in all, it can be said that Ghana football remains one of the strongest on the African continent and it is anticipated that in the coming years the Black Stars will live up to their billing as the Brazil of Africa by lifting another major World trophy such as the African Cup for a fifth time or possibly the World Cup for the first time.