Do You Know In 1951 Roy Ankrah Had Made Ghana Proud When He Outboxed Ronnie Clayton? Read More About The Boxing Story Of Ghana
When Ohene Djan became the Director of Sports, it was agreed by all that the Ghana Football Association (GFA) should be the only authority to organize, promote and sanction inter-club competitions or matches throughout the country. A new league system was introduced.
Eight football teams were carefully selected from and were to play each other on a home and away system. The pioneer clubs were: Accra Hearts of Oak, Accra Great Olympics, Kumasi Cornerstone, Cape Coast Dwarfs, and Cape Coast Vipers. Hearts of Oak won the maiden league with 21 points. The teams were followed very closely by the two popular Kumasi clubs which are Asante Kotoko And Kumasi Cornerstone.
The 1959 league was even keener and Kotoko won. In 1961/62 the clubs in the league doubled as eight new clubs were added and a new center was created.
The new clubs admitted into the league were: Swedru All Blacks, Denkyira United and Adansi United; Great Ashanti and B.A. united; Accra Standfast and Kumasi United and Real Republicans -the star-studded clubs formed by a policy of coaching two top players from existing top league clubs.
After the 1966 coup, Real Republicans was dissolved. That same year, the sports authorities increased the number of contesting teams in the league from 14 to 20. The six new clubs were: Tema Hurricane, Accra Standfast, Agona Fankobaa, Ho Mighty Eagles, Akan United, and Ho Sunset.
After four sessions of trial and error, the number of participating clubs in the league was again pruned down from 20 to 12. In 1975, the number of the first division league clubs was increased from 14 to 18. In 1991 the first division league was christened the Premier League consisting of 12 clubs. In October 1993 the Ministry of Youth and Sports ordered all clubs to register as limited liability companies and the Ministry offered them three million cedis each to “affect their expansion at the early stages of the competition”.
The Ministry also set up a seven-member Professional League Board to run the league.
The National Soccer League system has no doubt played a great role in helping to unearth talents in the country. Ghana can thus boast of producing renowned footballers like C. K. Gyamfi and Baba Yara. Other notable names are Aggrey Fynn, Robert Mensah, Ibrahim Sunday, Abdul Razak, and Abedi Pele.
The next most popular game in Ghana after football was boxing. Indeed it can be said that as a nation, boxing has brought more esteem than any other sport. It has helped to place the nation on the world map very often and had indeed produced men of glory on many occasions.
Introduced into the country by the colonialists, the first organized boxing bout was held at Mikado Cinema, Nsawam. For a long period, the noble art of self-defense was practiced on an amateur basis in the country.
In 1951 Roy Ankrah had made the country proud when he outboxed Ronnie Clayton, the champion, to Featherweight Champion. His exploit in the ring inspired a host of persons including Ike Quartey who won a silver medal at the 1960 Olympic Games.
In 1964 Floyd Klutei Robertson nearly won the World Featherweight title but poor officiating robbed him of the crown. Almost a decade after the courageous efforts of Floyd Robertson, David Kotei Poison went too far away from the USA and dethroned Rueben Olivares of Mexico at The Forum, Los Angeles to become the WBC Featherweight Champion of the world. The glorious effort of D. K. Poison also inspired Azumah Nelson to hit the glory lane in December 1984.
He was the second Ghanaian world boxing champion. He was followed five years later by Nana Yaw Konadu who became the WBC Super Flyweight Champion. On June 4, 1994, Ike Bazooka Quartey defeated Espana Crisanto of Peruto to become the WBA Welterweight Champion. Alfred Kotey became the fourth Ghanaian to win a world title belt when on July 30, 1994, he defeated Puerto Rican Rafael Del Valle to become the WBO Bantamweight Champion.
Another sport that has helped to raise the flag of Ghana in distant lands is Athletics. Like the other sports, athletics was first organized by individuals. The Achilles Club, for example, was formed in Accra to promote sports. The establishment of the Achimota College in 1927 gave a boost to athletics as an intercollegiate sport. It became a regular feature on the school calendar.
Among the schools which participated in the games were: Mfantispim School, Adisadel College, Wesley College, St Augustine’s College, and Presbyterian Training College, Akropong. Initially, the venue of the game was Achimota Campus but with time the venue rotated among them.
In 1947, attempts were made to organize an international athletic competition. As it was impossible for the country to compete in international competition without an association, the Gold Coast Athletic Association was formed. The formation of the Association opened the way for the first-ever Ghana-Nigeria Athletics Competition. This was held at the Accra Race Course, using the tracks the horses used.
The competition was held yearly with the venue rotating among the two countries until 1966 when the competition was broadened to encompass other sporting disciplines, hence the emergence of the Ghana-Nigeria Sports Festival Games.
In 1952 Ghana affiliated with the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF). This affiliation paved the way for the country to participate in the 1952 Olympic Games held in Helsinki, Finland. Ghana f presented a team for the 100, 200 meters races and the Long Jump and Triple Jump events. In 1954 Ghana participated in the first Commonwealth Games held in Vancouver.
The best achievement in Athletics has been the Commonwealth Gold Medal which was won by Mike Fahey in Sidney, Australia. At the Olympic games, the country’s best performance has been that of Joshua Owusu when he placed fourth in the triple jump event at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. At that same Olympic Games, Alice Anum became the first woman south of the Sahara to run in the final of the Olympic Games. She was sixth in the final 100 meters.
Football, Boxing, and Athletics can thus be said to be the sports that had brought great glory to the country and consequently had produced the largest number of men of glory.