FIFTY-NINE AND THE SAME: FIVE THINGS THAT HAVEN’T CHANGED ABOUT GHANA FOOTBALL SINCE INDEPENDENCE

In a belated feature analyzing the strides Ghana football
hasn’t made since March 6, 1957, KickerGH compiles five
characteristics of the modern game that look like they never changed
at all

Ghana football has achieved a lot in the years that have followed the

nation’s extrication from the grips of colonialism, among the lot,
four Nations Cup titles and three Fifa World Cup outings (the first of
which was almost half a century in coming, admittedly).
In more ways than one, though, the sport has remained static and, on
the occasion of Ghana’s 59th birthday last Sunday, we profile five of
those.

An Unpopular FA Boss
When Ghana gained independence nearly six decades ago, the FA boss at
the time, like the current one, wasn’t exactly a favourite of all
involved with the nascent nation’s football. Before Ghana turned one
— just six months from March 1957, in fact — Richard Maabuo
‘Lion-Heart’ Akwei, whose troubled tenure was plagued by crisis, had
been deposed as head of the Gold Coast/Ghana Amateur Football
Association (a forerunner of the Ghana Football Association); enter
the youthful revolutionary Ohene Gyan, who’d go on to reach legendary
status during a stellar era spent transforming Ghana football for
good.

Ghana-FA-boss-Kwesi-Nyantakyi-under-immense-pressure
The current president of the Ghana Football Association Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi

All-White Kits
When, in the build-up to Ghana’s first appearance at the Fifa World
Cup, back in 2006, the Black Stars — switching from the bright yellow
shirts which had held sway from the nineties — began wearing white
strips as first-choice kits, it wasn’t really sacrilege, only a
reversal to what had been the norm even as far back as when the nation
weaned itself off the British. If there’s any facet in which the
money-obsessed, latter-day generation of Stars bear some semblance to
those patriotic predecessors of yore, it’s in the white they sparkle
in ever so radiantly on the pitch.

No [Functioning] Website
The Internet only came into being and grew popular decades after 1957,
hence it’s quite reasonable football authorities in those days never
had an inkling about this amazing concept which makes up-to-date
information about the beautiful game so easy to diffuse and obtain.
Yet even they would have mocked us today as, even though we’re now
blessed with the Internet in all its glory, the situation isn’t much
better, given that the GFA’s website hasn’t been updated since
mid-February. It might as well be deemed non-existent — just as at
the very beginning.

Still Seven-Oh
This one may not be changing anytime soon. It’s probably the one thing
about Ghana football at the country’s birth that may well remain
unaltered even after we turn 1,957. Not quite two years before
attaining independence, Ghana, as the Gold Coast, thrashed Nigeria,
also in its pre-colonial morph, 7-0 in one of the dreamy days in our
footballing annals. That margin remains the heaviest by which the
Super Eagles — then the Red Devils — have ever lost a game, and it’s
really a shame we haven’t bettered it since. Maybe someday when we’re
as good as we used to be, we might. Or maybe never.

Fickle Fans

Soccer - 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa - Quarter Final - Uruguay v Ghana - Soccer City Stadium
Colourful Black Stars fans in the stands

Back in 1957 and even before, Ghanaian fans cheered and flattered when
their team won, and they jeered and cursed with just as much passion
when the opposite happened. The cycle continues here today, as it does
everywhere else. Some things never change, eh?

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