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How a Jamaican teacher and 22 students started football in Ghana

Cape Coast Excelsior.jfif Cape Coast Excelsior

Fri, 13 May 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

GhanaWeb Feature

With four Africa Cup of Nations titles, three World Cup appearances, a professional league that has spanned over two decades and a talent production line, Ghana rightfully prides itself as a football nation.

The country is home to some of the best players in the world including a man who many feel would have been the first African to win the Ballon d’OR but for the ill-informed decision to exclude Africans from the awards scheme until 1993.

Ghana’s quarter-final finish at the 2010 World Cup ranks with Senegal and Cameroon as the only three African countries to have gone beyond the round of 16 stage of global football showpiece.

But all these laurels would not have been possible but for the creativity of some school children in Cape Coast and their supportive Jamaican teacher.

How football started in Ghana

According to veteran journalist and writer, Ken Bediako in his book, ‘The complete history of the Ghana Premier League’, football was first played in the then capital of Cape Coast.

Students of the Cape Coast Government Boys School in Cape Coast, got the inspiration to try out football after reading about the game in an English newspaper in 1903.

The students, numbering 22 set out to play the game with secret training during the night in Cape Coast. Their secret plan turned out to be effective because the moon provided the needed light. At the now known Jubilee Park, these students and their Jamaican teacher known as Mr Briton begun playing football and became the pioneers of the sport in Ghana.

Their remarkable progress spread in the country and caught the attention of some wealthy men who ordered kits from the UK and gave it to the boys.

The kit, according Ken Bediako consisted of yellow stripes, white shorts, socks, football boots and caps. They formed a team known as Cape Coast Excelsior which became the first team in Ghana’s history.

From Cape Coast, football expanded to Accra and then to Kumasi and other parts of the country.

Other accounts however states the game was first played in the country by European sailors and merchants. The Europeans played the game with the local people during the leisure and that is how it spread from there.

The game is now the most popular sport in the country, played by thousands.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com