Ghana National Football Team
While the Ghana National football team’s history began as a limb of the dying British Empire, the country’s descendants now play for many of the world’s top teams, not to discount the elite players who have also stuck with the West African nation.
Few teams on the continent have done as well at major tournaments, and the Black Stars are still one of Africa’s best chances at winning the World Cup for the first time.
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Thursday November 24 – Portugal vs Ghana (Stadium 974, Doha; kick-off 5pm).
Monday November 28 – South Korea vs Ghana (Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan; kick-off 2pm).
Friday, December 2 – Ghana vs Uruguay (Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah; kick-off 4pm).
Ghana National Football Team: History, Competitions, and Players
Football began to take on a formal structure in the region that is now Ghana in 1920 when the Gold Coast Football Association was founded. However, a team representing this region wouldn’t play its first match until 1950, when the Gold Coast and British Togoland beat Nigeria 1-0.
With decolonization came about the Ghana Football Association in 1957, which was formally enrolled in FIFA and the Confederation of African Football in 1958.
Getting Some Matches Under the Belt
In the post-war years, international football in Africa was initially disjointed. Ghana’s most notable game in this period came in 1962 when they drew 3-3 with Real Madrid, who were an arguably even more intimidating name then than they are today. Not a bad way to put the country on the map!
That decade, the African Cup of Nations also started to gather steam. Again, Ghana was one of the earliest teams to dominate the tournament, taking the trophy home in 1963 and 1965 and reaching the final in 1968 and 1970.
Reaching a Low Point
The late 1970s and 80s saw a deceleration in the Black Stars’ ascent. World Cup qualification campaigns consistently fell short, and the team started to struggle to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations, although a brief moment of light came in 1982 when the team again took home the continental trophy.
Ghana National Football Global Stars
In the late 1990s, Ghana National Football really put its name on the world stage when Abedi Pele and Tony Yeboah became two of the world’s best players. However, disharmony between the two, which grew to such a size that the Ghanaian government got involved, meant the team initially struggled to turn their talent into success.
Eventually, the side’s fortunes started to change. After a string of dominating tournament performances from the Ghanaian youth sides, the team won the African cup of Nations in 2002, went undefeated for a whole year in 2005, and then qualified for the 2006 World Cup. It was the country’s first appearance at the tournament, and they were only knocked out by a highly talented Brazil side who beat them 3-0 in the second round.
In 2010, the Ghana National Football team did even better, reaching the quarter-finals only to be knocked out in one of the most controversial matches in World Cup history. Uruguay progressed from that match after losing star striker Luis Suarez to a red card for deliberate handball.
The team seems to have been in decline since that unfortunate loss, and they only managed to scrape through the 2022 World Cup qualifying thanks to the away goals rule.
Ghana National Football Trivia
- The Black Star on the Ghanaian kit, from which the team gets its nickname, was used as a symbol of independence after British rule ended in 1957.
- Few national teams can compete with the Ghanaian fans, with average stadium match attendances of over 60,000 people.
- The team’s flights home are often met with large celebratory crowds on touchdown.