Football in Ghana
Football is the most popular sport in Ghana. The national governing body is the Ghana Football Association. Internationally, Ghana is represented by the male Black Stars and the female Black Queens. The top domestic football league in Ghana is the Glo Premier League.
It is on record that the game of football was introduced into the Gold Coast region towards the close of the 19th century by merchants from Europe. Sailors during their leisure times played football among themselves and sometimes with a select side of the indigenous people. The popularity of the game spread like wild fire within a short time along the coast culminating in the formation of the first football club, Excelsior, in 1903 by Mr. Briton, a Jamaican-born Briton, who was then the Head Teacher of Philip Quaicoe Government Boys School in Cape Coast.
Ghana national men's football team
The Black Stars team is one of the highly rated national football teams in Africa. Ghana has won the African Cup of Nations championships on four occasions. They also reached the last sixteen of the 2006 FIFA World Cup before being eliminated by the Brazil. At the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, they became the third African team in history to reach the World Cup quarter-finals. Some illustrious players have been Charles Kumi Gyamfi, Abédi Pelé, Abdul Razak, Tony Yeboah, Samuel Kuffour and Michael Essien.
The youth teams have been successful as well. The U-17 team regularly competes in the FIFA U-17 World Cup and has won it twice and were runners-up twice. The U-20 team were runners-up twice in the FIFA U-20 World Cup, and in 2009 the Black Satellites completed the double by winning the 2009 African Youth Championship and being crowned 2009 U-20 World Cup Champions thus becoming the first African Country to win the U-20 World Cup Championship. In 1992, Olympic U-23 team became the first African country to win a medal at Olympic Games football and in 2011 the Black Meteors were crowned 2011 All-Africa Games champions for the first time. Senior squad regulars such as Sulley Muntari, Michael Essien, John Mensah and captain Stephen Appiah all got their start at these youth tournaments.
- As of 11 February 2012, the players with the most goals for the senior Ghanaian national team are:
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Abédi Pélé is the leading goalscorer for Ghana.
Asamoah Gyan is the 3rd highest goalscorer for Ghana and is currently on loan from Sunderland AFC to Al Ain.
Ghana national women's football team
The Black Queens have taken part in all the FIFA Women's World Cup championships since 1999. The team has however failed to go beyond the first round on each occasion. Ghana has also been runner up to Nigeria on three occasions in the African Women's Championships. Two Ghanaians, Alberta Sackey and Adjoa Bayor have been voted African Women Player of the Year.
Glo Premier League
Ghanaian FA Cup
Accra Sports Stadium disaster
African Player of the Year and notable players
In the 1990s, Abédi Pelé and Tony Yeboah received FIFA World Player of the Year top ten nominations: the following decade Sammy Kuffour and Michael Essien received Ballon d'Or nominations. Abédi Pelé was listed in the 2004 "FIFA 100" greatest living footballers.
On 13 January 2007, the Confederation of African Football voted Abédi Pelé, Michael Essien, Tony Yeboah, Karim Abdul Razak and Samuel Kuffour as members of the CAF top 30 best African players of all-time. In addition, Abédi and Yeboah were voted as among of the best African players of the century in 1999 by IFFHS.
- Abédi Pelé – FIFA 100, WPOY Nom.1991, 9th 1992, 1991, 1992, 1993 APOY Winner, APOY Nom. 85,86,87,88,89,90, 5th Best African Player of All-Time
- Karim Abdul Razak – 1978 APOY Winner, 6th 1983, 26th Best African Player of All-Time
- Ibrahim Sunday – 1971 APOY Winner
- Samuel Kuffour – Ballon d'Or Nom. 2001, APOY Runner-up 1999,2001, 27th Best African Player of All-Time
- Tony Yeboah – WPOY 9th 1993, Ballon d'Or 23rd 1995, APOY Runner-up 1993, 3rd 1992, 6th 1991, 10th 1996, 24th Best African Player of All-Time
- Michael Essien – FIFA World Player of the Year – 22nd 2005, 22nd 2006, 15th 2007; Ballon d'Or – 24th 2007 27th 2006, 22nd 2005; APOY – 2nd 2007, 3rd 2006, 3rd 2005, 11th Best African Player of All-Time
- "Abedi Pelé Ghana's brightest Black Star". FIFA. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
- "Ghana would qualify to next round of World Cup - Tony Yeboah". ghanaweb.com. 19 May 2010. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
- "Gyan, Asamoah". National Football Teams. Retrieved 28 January 2012.