Sports in Ghana

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Ghana is a country with a rich heritage in sports. Popular sporting events in the country include football, boxing, tennis, basketball, hockey, cricket, rugby, golf, and athletics[1]

Olympic sport[edit]

Ghanaian winter sports olympic team at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Olympic sport in Ghana began when Ghana first competed as Gold Coast in the 1952 Summer Olympics.

Ghanaian athletes have won a total of four Olympics medals in thirteen appearances at the Summer Olympics, three in boxing, and a bronze medal in association football, and thus became the first country on the Africa continent to win a medal at association football.[2]

2010 Winter Olympics[edit]

Ghana competed in the Winter Olympics for the first time in 2010. Ghana qualified for the 2010 Winter Olympics with a score of 137.5 International Ski Federation points, within the qualifying range of 120-140 points.[3] Ghanaian skier, Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong, nicknamed "The Snow Leopard", became the first Ghanaian to take part in the Winter Olympics, at the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada,[4] taking part in the slalom skiing.[5]

Ghana finished 47th out of 102 participating nations, of whom 54 finished in the Alpine skiing slalom.[6][7] Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong broke on the international skiing circuit, being the second black African skier to do so.[8]


Referee Celestino Ruiz raises the hand of newly crowned IBO International middleweight champion Osumanu Adama at UIC Pavilion.

Boxing is one of the most dominated sport in Ghana. Bukum, a fishing village is considered as the country's huge and the world's unofficial university of boxing. The country has also produced several world-class boxers, including Azumah Nelson a three-time world champion, Nana Yaw Konadu also a three-time world champion, Ike Quartey, and Joshua Clottey.[9]Daniel Kotoko Poison is the first Ghanaian to win a World Title.


Cricket was handed over to Ghana in the early days of then the Gold Cost during the rule of its colonial masters the British and played its first international game against Nigeria in 1904.[10] It is known that after the 2nd World War the game grew from there and spread through expatriates and further local citizens in the mining sector.

The game between the 1960s and 1980s saw the involvement of schools and colleges notably in the Greater Accra, Central, Western and the Eastern Regions of Ghana. The spread caught the attention of the Universities, Training Colleges and Communities vibrantly. By 1993 talents were identified at the grassroots to form the juvenile teams taking part in the Cricket Quadrangular among the North West Africa Cricket playing countries at that time.

Ghana became an Affiliate Member of the ICC in 2002 and the game has continued to grow since.


The country competed in the ICC/ACA Division 3 of the ICC Africa World Cricket League in 2006 for the first time. Its third-place finish was hugely encouraging and it followed that up by winning the following event – in 2008 in South Africa – to gain promotion to ICC/ACA Africa Division 2.

Ghana more than held its own in the 2010 ICC Africa World Cricket League Division 2 held in Benoni, South Africa in April as it finished in second place to maintain its spot for the next event. A record of just one defeat in six matches – that to title winners Zambia – augurs well for the future.

It was no surprise that Ghana became a force to reckon with in the 2011 edition of the ICC/ACA Africa Regional Division 2 T-20 Tournament placing second to gain promotion to the Africa Regional Division 1 event in Uganda the same year and also gained a Promotion to play at ICC Global Division 8 in 2012.

However first time appearance in the ICC/ACA Africa Regional Division 1 T-20 Tournament was evident as the team placed fifth out of the five countries event in Uganda.

Ghana showed its capacity to hold international events when it successfully hosted the ICC/ACA Division 3 T- 20 in Accra in February 2011.

With increased Government support for the lesser known sports, the establishment of cricket in schools is underway via a vibrant national cricket development programme and plans are afoot to establish more cricket grounds.


The GCA supervises the Accra Invitational League, Captain Series, The Diwali League, Girls Quadrangular Competitions and Interschool’s Cricket Competition.

The Ghana Cricket Association has shown commitment in promoting the sport in Ghana, with educational institutions like the University of Ghana, Ghana International School, Ashantigold Schools, Achimota School and other public basic schools now taken up the sport.


Black Stars squad (Ghanaian national football team) line-up prior to match of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Association football is administered by the Ghana Football Association and the national men's football team is known as the Black Stars, with the under-20 team known as the Black Satellites. Ghana has participated in many championships, including the African Cup of Nations with 4 titles, the FIFA World Cup three times, (2006, 2010, and 2014), and the FIFA U-20 World Cup with 1 title. In the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Ghana became the third African country to reach the quarter-final stage of the World Cup after Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002.[11] Ghana national U-20 football team, known as the Black Satellites, is considered to be the feeder team for the Ghana national football team. Ghana is the first and only country on the Africa continent to be crowned FIFA U-20 World Cup Champions and two-time runner up in 1993 and 2001. The Ghana national U-17 football team, known as the Black Starlets, are two-time FIFA U-17 World Cup champions in 1991 and 1995, two-time runners up in 1993 and 1997.

Ghanaian football teams Asante Kotoko SC and Accra Hearts of Oak SC are the 5th and 9th best football teams on the Africa continent and have won a total of five Africa continental association football and Confederation of African Football trophies; Ghanaian football club Asante Kotoko SC has been crowned two-time CAF Champions League winners in 1970, 1983 and five-time CAF Champions League runners up, and Ghanaian football club Accra Hearts of Oak SC has been crowned 2000 CAF Champions League winner and two-time CAF Champions League runners up, 2001 CAF Super Cup champions and 2004 CAF Confederation Cup champions.[12] The International Federation of Football History and Statistics crowned Asante Kotoko SC as the African club of the 20th century.[12] There are several club football teams in Ghana that play in the Ghana Premier League and Division One League, both administered by the Ghana Football Association.


Judo was introduced into Ghana in the early 1960s by the late President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. It was introduced to numbers of the young pioneers club of Ghana. During this same time, some French expatiates working with CFAO open a dojo at their office in Accra.

In 1960 Mr. Tony Turkson now a reverend minister opened a club in Accra at the National Arts Centre. Two other clubs were later opened at the police and Army training schools.

In 1973, a Japanese mission was in Ghana through the sponsorship of the Japan foreign ministry to demonstrate the art of Judo to Ghanaians. In 1974, the Japanese Mission sent another delegation as part of a cultural exchange programme. During this same period, three army personnels were sent to Britain for three months training. Two other police officers were sent to Kodokan, Japan for two years. Upon these happenings the Ghana Judo Association was formed.

From the year 1974, Judo has become a recognized national sports and has developed over the years.

Organizations such as Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Japanese Embassy in Ghana as well as the French Embassy have helped in the development of the sports in the country. From 1976 – 2002, eleven Japanese coaches have helped the Ghana Judo Association to develop Judo. Some Ghanaians have also gotten the chance to study abroad. Two Ghanaians namely Andy Williams and Schandorf were in Egypt for 10 months and 6 months respectively. Over the years five Ghanaians have also been to Japan to study judo through the sponsorship of JICA. In 2003, another Ghanaian had a three-month study in Germany. In 2005, under the Olympic solidarity scholarship, another judo player was sent to Hungary for three months.

At the moment judo is being practiced in may part of the country as many people from all walks of life are enrolling daily to take judo lesson for self-defence, as a sport and to keep them fit.


The Game of HANDBALL started in Ghana in 1975 by Mr. S. K. Hlordze then Deputy Chief Sport’s Organizer of the National Sports Council and Mr. Katé Caesar, then a visiting lecturer at Specialist Training College – P. E Department, Winneba, now and the University of Education.

The German Government donated a quantity of equipment to be used in establishing the Sports College among the items was a number of Berg – Handballs.

Mr. Katé Caesar organized the first Handball Clinic at the Osu end (Car Park) of the Accra Sports Stadium with the support of Mr. S. K. Hlordze and the assistance of the Missodey Brothers i.e. Emile and Gabriel who were very proficient in basic Handball skills.

They had then been recognised trainers of the National Sports Council.

The clinic was over one week aimed at introducing basic skills in the game to Physical Education students during the Easter break in April 1975.

Later in the year Gabriel and Emile Missodey, supported by Mr. S. K. Hlordze formed the first handball team in Ghana based in Osu [Great Fingers International Handball Club].

In September 1977 some player from Fingers International most of them residing around Kaneshie started training at the Kaneshie Sports Complex and eventually formed Hostac Handball Club, it was from these two that other teams were formed.

The Handball Association of Ghana was formed in 11 November 1976 with Mr. Katé Caesar as the first Chairman.

The first International competition in Handball took place in Accra in May 1977 between Ghana and Togo with the return encounter in Lome -Togo two weeks later, the National Team at that time were students from Specialist Training College - Winneba.

In 1976, the Ghana University Sports Association included Handball in their Competitions but lack of basic infrastructure kept the game on hold until quite recently that all the major Universities have embraced it i.e. Legon, Cape Coast, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology University of Education – Winneba and University of Development Studies.

In July 1977, during the National Sports Festival, Handball was included and the teams that took part included Gt. Accra, Central Region, Armed Forces, Eastern Region, Ashanti Region Volta Region, Northern, Region and Brong Ahafo Regions. Due to the high performance of Greater Accra, they had the chance of playing Ogun State in Accra which Greater Accra won. In 1978, Ghana played Cote de voire in Africa Zone three elimination. The Security Services took up the Game in the 1980s onwards.

After Mr. Katé Caesar, in 1978 Mr. B.T. Baba became the Chairman till date.

Ghana handball is currently of age, some of it coaches have benefited from advanced coaching courses in University of Leipzig in Germany. Referees from Ghana have been officiating in international competitions around the Africa continent.

Ghana won Bronze Medal at Commonwealth Youth Championship held in Minna – Nigeria in 1992. She also won Bronze Medal at the 7Th All African Games held in Johannesburg – South Africa in 1999.

In August 2006, Ghana’s women’s National Team won the African Challenge Trophy [Africa Cup] held in Lome – Togo.

Due to lack of sponsorship, handball League is only organized in Greater Accra.

Currently there are ten (10) male teams and six (6) female teams participating in the Greater Accra Handball League. There are other teams around the country like Kpando Young hands from Volta Region and Globe Trotters from the Northern Region.

Handball has also become part of the Basic and Second Cycle Schools Sports Calendar, with all Senior Secondary Schools playing the game seriously, especially in Greater Accra Region.


Since 1977, the game has not seen much infrastructural growth and Development. Apart from the Ghana Prisons Service and the Ghana Armed Forces which can boast of good concrete open courts, not much can be said of structural development in the Regions though the game is now being played at the first and second cycle level all over the country.

There is the need to look for other means to develop the Game, therefore the quest to look for assistance in the form of structural and Technical development i.e.:

1 A modern Indoor Facility that could be used for Commercial purpose with sitting capacity of Ten Thousand (10,000) Spectators. Such a facility could cater for other games i.e. Volleyball, Basketball, Table Tennis, Gymnastics, Judo and Boxing Tournaments.


The sport was first introduced to the country in the 1990s which is run by the Ghana Karate Do Association.[13]


The game of Netball which developed from WOMEN BASKETBALL was introduced into the then GOLD COAST by the MISSIONARIES who brought education into the country. Netball was therefore initially played in schools and colleges in Ghana.

In the 1960s and 1970s Netball was very popular in the country and regular Netball competitions were played in schools and colleges across the country with the finals being held at the then Accra Sports Stadium now OHENE DJAN SPORTS STADIUM.

Good exponents of the game of Netball in those days- early 1970’s were Kadjebi Secondary School (Snr. High School), Offinso Training College, Wesley College Kumasi and Osu Presby Secondary Schools (Snr. High School) and the basic school level.

Netball was also very popular and up to the 1974/75 academic year, Netball was included in the National Basic Schools sports festival programme regularly.

During the era of the Central Organization of Sport(C.O.S) under the era of Ohene Djan, he established a Desk at the C.O.S in charge of Netball, which liaised with the schools and Colleges Sports Federation for the organization of Netball tournaments and the promotion of Netball in the country.

Table tennis[edit]

Table Tennis had long started in the 1940s. However, history of organized Table Tennis in Ghana can be traced from the arrival of D. G. Hathiramani, an Indian trader in the Gold Coast.

D.G Hathiramani, a good player himself, teamed up with other enthusiastic Gold Coast local players like Dr. S.B Laing, J.W Mullings, E.N Nettey and many others to form the Gold Coast Table Tennis Association in 1951. Hathiramani captained the Gold Coast team to win the AZIKWE CUP in Lagos, Nigeria.

About three years later, Hathiramani retired as an active player and took to coaching.

In 1954, Hathiramani established a table tennis school at the Accra Y.M.C.A (Young Men Christian Association). He produced a lot of good players. Some prominent ones included E.A Quaye, Okine Quaye, Samuel Hammond, Joseph Quansah, Ethel Jacks, Theresa and Ernestina Akuetteh, Helena Amankwah, Esther Lamptey, Patricia Akosua Offei and Patience Abena Opokua. All these players won medals for Ghana.

Ghana joined the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) in 1951 and the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) in 1961.

Okine Quaye won the Kent (England) Junior Table Tennis Tournament in 1960. In the same year E.A Quaye captured the Kent Senior Tournament.

In 1962, E.A Quaye won the Africa Men’s Singles title in Cairo. However, E.A Quaye lost the title in 1964 in Accra, Ghana, but regained it in 1968 in Lagos.

E.A Quaye underwent a table tennis Basic Coaching Course in Britain in 1961 and in Beijing Institute of Physical Education in 1965.

Another prominent player of D,G Hathiramani was a half Ghanaian and half Nigerian. This young lady troubled the Nigerian team greatly. ETHEL JACKS was the name. Ethel Jacks won many laurels for Ghana and herself between 1964 and 1976 at Africa and West Africa Championships.

In 1971, Ethel Jacks won the Africa Women’s Singles title. After 1976 Ethel Jacks left Ghana for Nigeria and later became a coach for Nigeria.

In 1977, the GTTA and the NSC organized a one –week intensive Table Tennis Coaching Course for all regional coaches.

The coaches were housed in D.G Hathiramani’s house. At the end of the course, table tennis equipment were given out to all participants. Hathiramani was affectionately called “D.G”. Until 1977, there were only two (NSC) National Sports Council paid coaches namely: E.A Quaye, in charge of the Western Region, and S.K. Allotey who was in charge of the Ashanti Region.

On 1 January 1978, Vincent Arhin, a Physical Education Assistant Superintendent teacher of the Ghana Education Service was appointed a Regional Coach to the Eastern Region. He therefore became the third National Sports Council (NSC) coach.

In December 1980, Esther Lamptey won the Africa Women’s singles title in Senegal.

In 1981, the first Africa Table Tennis Coaches Intermediate course was organized under the tutelage of Mrs. Sung Meiying, the Technical Director of China Table Tennis Association and the patronage of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation.

The Eastern Region Coach, Vincent Arhin and the B/Ahafo Region Coach, Anthony Asante participated on behalf of Ghana.

In 1985 an agreement reached between the Ghana Government and the China Government enabled Coach Vincent Arhin and a former national player, Anthony Owusu Ansah to be offered scholarship to do an advance Diploma Coaching Course in Beijing, China at the University of Physical Education.

In 1986, Coach Owusu Ansah was appointed a National Sports Council Coach to the Ashanti Region.

In 1987, Ghana’s pair of Patricia Akosua Offei and Patience Abena Opokua won the Women’s Doubles Event at the 7th All Africa Games in Nairobi, Kenya.

In March 1988, Ghana won Gold Medal by beating Nigeria in the Women’s Team Event (Corbillon) at the Africa Zone 3 Games held in Ghana. The team was handled by Coach Vincent Arhin and the players were Patricia Offei and Patience Opokua.

In the same year, table tennis became an Olympic event. Ghana was represented by Patricia Offei, Coach Arhin, Sqd. Ldr. Ebo Bartels (Chairman), Ernestina Akuetteh (Chaperon) and Patience Opokua (Training Partner for Patricia Offei) in Seoul, South Korea at the 24th Olympic Games.

After the World Table Tennis Championships, Stephen Adjei and Patricia Offei failed to return to Ghana. That sparked off public outcry and brought about a decline of the Ministry’s interest in table tennis until 1992 when Helena Amankwah and Patience Opokua featured at the 25th Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Coach S.K. Allotey (deceased) and the leader of the team, Kwabena Yeboah of GTV fame, were in attendance.

The Ghana Education Service (GES) and the National Sports Council jointly organized a National U-10 table tennis and soccer training programmes for children in Accra for 3 months.

The maiden championship involving (5) five countries saw Ghana’s contingent winning all their matches. Ghana, Togo, Benin, Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso were involved.

In 1993, Ghana Education Service and the National Sports Council (NSC) collaborated to train U-12 players in table tennis and soccer. Tutelage of table tennis was placed under Coach Vincent Arhin (NSC) while soccer was handled by Coach Akuetteh Armah (NSC) Wahab (GES) and Yaw Adu (GES). Ghana beat Benin in both table tennis and soccer.

In 1994, CADBURY (GH) Ltd sponsored a 2-Year Bournvita Table Tennis Developmental and Promotional programme throughout the country to uplift the image and level of the game.

Schools and clubs were given table tennis tables, posts and nets assemblies. Bournvita T-shirts were also given out to all participants.

In 1995, Ghana’s Isaac Opoku from Eastern Region qualified amongst the top 6 Africa players. After qualifying at the Africa Qualification competition in Lagos, E. A. Quaye was appointed the first GTTA Chief Coach.

In 1996, Ghana’s Olympic team of Isaac Opoku (Singles) and Winfred Addy (Doubles partner), Coach E.A Quaye and Hornsby Odoi were at the 26th Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA. In 1997, Ghana participated at the Manchester World Table Tennis Championships. The players were Gifty Mensah, Lydia Cleyland, Comfort Danso, Eric Hammond and Seth Darko.

On 26 December 1998, Ghana buried one of her most industrious coaches, S.K. Allotey.

On 26 January 1999, Coach Arhin became the second GTTA Chief Coach after Coach E.A. Quaye. Subsequently, Coach Arhin was transferred from the Eastern Region to the Headquarters of the National Sports Council in Accra. Ghana participated in the 45th World Table Tennis Championships.

Participants were Coach Vincent Arhin, Esther Lamptey, Hagar Amo and Eric Amoah who absconded at the end of the championship in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

The Secretary-General, Ashalley-Okine was present.

In 2000, the Greater Accra Table Tennis Academy was formed to reactivate the game in the capital city of Ghana Accra, by the Chief Coach, Vincent Arhin.

The Academy was inaugurated by the Deputy Minister of Sports, Mr. Sylvester Azantilo, under the direction of the Ag. Chief Executive of NSC, Brigadier Brock. In 2001, the Academy played friendly matches with the Togolese national team on “home and away” basis.

In each case, the Academy was victorious. The sponsors were Next Door Restaurant, Mr. Kudjoe Fianoo and Mr. Richard Quarshie, both members of the Ghana Football Association. In 2002, to stop favouritism, nepotism and tribalism in the selection of national players for international assignments, the Chief Coach, Mr. Arhin introduced the POINT SYSTEM.

This was accepted by both the Association and the playing body. That enabled the Black Loopers to train constantly to win for the first time in Twenty (20) years a BRONZE medal in the Men’s Team Event at the 8TH All Africa Games in Abuja, Nigeria in 2003. In March 2003, Ghana participated in the 47th World Table Tennis Championships in Paris, France. Nana Yaw Boateng, Eric Amoah and Eric Hammond were ranked 897, 898 and 899, respectively.

The team was accompanied by Coach Vincent Arhin and Sqd. Ldr. Ebo Bartels as Chairman. TIBHAR Co. Ltd and the Ghana Table Tennis Association signed a contract at the championship. Tibhar Company was to support the GTTA for two (2) years.

In July 2003, Ghana was represented by 5 men and 2 women at the 8th All Africa Games held in Abuja. Bronze medal was won in the Men’s Team Event. In 2004, the 13th Africa Youth Championships was held in Ghana. Ghana won 3 Bronze Medals. Ghana was disqualified for allowing Solomon Akonor, an above 18-year-old player, to feature in the Under-18 category.

Solomon Akonor who failed to submit his passport for scrutiny was banned for 2 years. The Chief Coach, Mr. Vincent Ankama Arhin, was transferred to the Western Region. The Chief Coach appealed against his sanction at the Commission for Human Right and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). After investigations and interaction with the NSC, CHRAJ ruled in favour of the Chief Coach.

The Chief Coach was reinstated at his post in 2005. However, Ghana won 3 bronze medals at the 13th Youth Championships in the Boys Doubles Event, Under 18 Boys Team Event and Girls under 15 Singles. Akosua Ketu qualified for the World Cadet Championship held in Portugal in 2005. Coach Owusu Addo handled Akosua Ketu at the Championship in Portugal.

Between 2003 and 2005, the Chief Coach was appointed a part-time lecturer at the University of Cape Coast.

He turned out 99 students coaches. In 2005, Ghana was represented at the 48th World Table Tennis Championships by the nation’s No.1 player, Nana Yaw Boateng and Sqd. Ldr.

Ebo Bartels the Chairman of GTTA in Shangai, China. In 2006, the Chief Coach, Vincent Arhin, retired at the age of 60 years. He was however, contracted to work as the Technical Coordinator of Table Tennis programmes to train the youth to become seasoned coaches. Coach Anthony Owusu Ansah became an acting chief coach of the GTTA.

At the Australia Commonwealth Games in 2006, Ghana was represented by Eric Amoah, Mohammed Ali, Nana Yaw Boateng, Bernard Joe Sam, Coach Owusu Ansah and Sqd. Ldr. Ebo Bartels. Ghana placed 14th out of 26 participating countries.


In the past, Ghana's sports authorities have often cut the funding for many sports disciplines in order to ever increase the funds available to its football (soccer) programs. Because of this decision, several sports events on the African continent such as the African Games have seen limited Ghanaian participation.[14]





  1. ^ Sports in Ghana.
  2. ^ "Ghana clinging to Olympic dream". BBC News. 8 April 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  3. ^ "Base Camp Sponsored Ghanaian skier Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong has qualified for 2010 Olympics". 0-21 Snowboarding. 13 March 2009. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  4. ^ Dutta, Kunal (22 October 2009). "Forget Eric the Eel... meet the Snow Leopard". The Independent. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong, Alpine Skiing". Vancouver, 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  6. ^ Men's Slalom - Run 2, Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games official website. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  7. ^ "Men's Slalom". Vancouver, 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  8. ^ Chris Wilson (3 February 2010). "Ghana's first winter Olympian gears up for Vancouver Games". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  9. ^ Pierre, Yvette La (1 January 2004). "Ghana in Pictures". Twenty-First Century Books. Retrieved 16 March 2018 – via Google Books.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "USA 1–2 Ghana (aet)". 26 June 2009. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
  12. ^ a b "Africa's club of the Century". IFFHS official website. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  13. ^ Aggrey, Joe (6 May 1997). "Graphic Sports: Issue 624 May 6-12 1997". Graphic Communications Group. Retrieved 22 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  14. ^ Ghana Basketball Association - Ghana government fails to support Ghana Women's Team in Mali,, 24 September 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2016.

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