“The gift of the British”
Soccer was brought to Ghana via Britain, which was the colonial overlord a the time. Initially soccer was slow to get off the ground, but the first organized matches in 1882 ensured a steady increase of the sport’s popularity. In 1903 the first official Ghanaian soccer club was founded (Cape Coast Excelsior) and in 1920 the British introduced the first formal competition.

Black pride
Ghana was the first African country to become independent in 1957. Under the government of Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah, soccer underwent a major development. In his book “De macht van de bal: (“The Power of the Ball”) Edwin Schoon writes: “Nkrumah used soccer as a tool to clarify that Africa did not need to bow down before anyone, and certainly not before imperialists. And thus the most popular sport of the former British colony of “Gold Coast” became a marketing tool before the term was even coined.  In order to preach African pride.”
In 1966 the militia seized power and Nkrumah’s government fell. His dominion over soccer thus came to an abrupt end. The infrastructure that Nkrumah had built was neglected and the fields became unusable. Where before Ghanaian soccer players had confidence in their leagues and were proud to play in Ghana, the end of the 1970s saw the beginning of a migration to European clubs.
The current situation
The Ghanaian national team is doing well and this spills over into the local leagues. In the past few years the team has attracted a number of big sponsors. At the big clubs – Hearts of Oak, Asante Kotoko and Liberty Professionals – in Ghana players earn a good salary according to Ghanaian standards. However, there is a lot of corruption in African soccer and the development of the north of Ghana remains behind that of the south. Many club officials and players are focusing on transfers to Europe.  On the one hand this will bring money into Ghana; on the other hand it undermines the development of local leagues. Another big obstacle is the major focus on the national team. There is a lot of prestige to be had here and a lot is being invested in the team.