History of the Ghana Football Association (GFA)

As great teams were being formed, and formidable players were being unearthed the political aspect of the administration of the game was also nurtured with the formation of district and regional associations. This was needed to ensure the smooth running of the game with the settin up of competitions. One of the earliest administrators of the game in the country was Mr. J.W. Blankson- Mills, the town clerk, who recognised football in Accra in 1915 and initiated a league competition for the leading clubs in Accra.

His effort remained haphazard until April 1922 when, under the patronage of Sir Gordon Guggisberg, the then Governor of the Gold Coast, the first well- promoted football league ever to be played in the country was organized in Accra. The Governor provided the League trophy dubbed the ‘Guggisberg shield’ and placed it under an authority called the Accra Football League. In 1930, the clubs, by a resolution, dissolved this authority to be replaced by a new controlling body called the Accra Amateur Football Asssociation. It was headed by Mr. Richard Akwei, a school teacher and a man destined to play an influential role in the establishment of a National Football Association.

The assets of Accra Football League were pass on to the new controlling Association but Accra Standfast, the League Champions, refused to hand over the ‘Guggisberg Shield.’ Richard Akwei sued the club at an Accra High Court and secured the verdict for the recovery of the shield.

Subsequently, in 1940, Accra Standfast led the other Accra clubs to agitate for the overthrow of Akwei’s regime, but Hearts of Oak and a few others opposed the move. Without securing unanimity of action, Standfast, with the majority of the clubs, succeeded in splitting the Association by installing a rival Association which was named the ‘Ga Football Asssociation’, under the chairmanship of Mr. J. Kitson- Mills. As the ‘Guggisberg Shield’ remained with the Akwei faction of the controlling association, the new regime procured a silver cup for its own league and cunningly christened it the ‘Guggisberg Memorial Cup’, obviously seen as introducing more confusion into the controversy.

In 1951, a ceremony was organized to inaugurate the newly built Accra Sports Stadium, an impressive modern edifice, which was seen as an opportunity to unite the two feuding Accra Football Associations. To enrich the ceremony, Accra was to organize a team to represent Southern Ghana against an Ashanti representative side.

In order to offer effective leadership in the match, the two factions, at a merger meeting held at the Roger Club, Accra, sank their individual identities and constituted themselves into the ‘Accra Football Association’ under the chairmanship of Mr. Solo Odamtten with Richard Akwei as his vice. After the match which Accra won by 3 goals to nil, the clubs passed a resolution to dismiss Richard Akwei from the Association.

Later, he bounced back and led Accra to unite with Ashanti to form the’ United Gold Coast Amateur Football Association’ with Mr. John Darkwa of Kumasi as the chairman and Richard Akwei as the vice. It was under this Football Association that the Gold Coast arranged to tour Britain to play 10 matches in 1951.

In 1952, Richard Akwei was elected as chairman of the Association. Three years later in 1955, he was able to spearhead a re-organization of the FA into the formation of a National Association which re-elected him as chairman.

As all the Associations in the country operated on their own steam, the shrewd administrator, Mr. Akwei managed somehow, to bring the principal Associations together to accept, in principle, the formation of a centralized National Football Association to control, promote and develop football in the Gold Coast. But much did not appear to have been achieved by the body beyond organizing inter-town matches which were few and far in-between.

With the absence of a truly National Association, the country could not take advantage of the Olympic Games and the African Cup Competitions; these remained absolutely a forbidden territory to the Gold Coast Football Association. Indeed, the Association, in1943 chose indirect affiliation with FIFA through the Football Association of England.

In 1958 the Ghana Amateur Football Association (GAFA) was formed and elections were held at the Legion Hall and Mr. Ohene Djan, chairman of the Nsawam District Football Association came victorious and became the chairman of GAFA. He was re-elected as chairman of GAFA in 1960, appointment and doubles as the Director of Sports the same year. This ministerial appointment also made him chairman of various sporting disciplines in Ghana, a position he held until military coup in 1966.

His tenure brought a new sinew to drive football organization and its administration towards the direction of growth and progress. Ohene Djan could not have put it better when he said; ‘We were in pre scientific era with Ghana football just dragging its un-nurtured trunk across the ocean of soccer adventure.’

Ohene Djan’s reformation overtly prosecuted a scheduled plan of action that prioritized the employment of foreign coaches, the training overseas of coaches of local ones particularly retired footballers into first-class coaches, invitation to world- class teams to play Ghana on home and away basis and the formation of a standing national team, hiding behind a team named ‘Real Republicans’.

Towards these objectives, immediate employment was given to Mr. George Ainsley, from the English Football Association on a salary of £2000 per annum plus some enticing perks. Andrea Sjoberg from Sweden, Jozeff Ember, Valga and Tibor Kemmeny all from Hungary, Rino Martin all from Hungary, Rino Martin and Otto Westphal also from Germany, were all engaged at different times and sent into the regions and schools to train the players. Ember was appointed a Head Coach.

It was also at this period Ohene Djan’s administration sent C.K. Gyamfi, the captain of the Black Stars, to West Germany to train as coach. Later, James Adjei, Chris Briandt, Asebi Boakye and many others were also sent to various European Countries for training.

Since then various personalities have taken charge of the administration of the game in the country with varying successes.


Past and Present Chairment/Presidents of the Ghana Football Association

Richard Akwei – 1930-1950

John Darkwa – 1951

Ohene Djan – 1958- 1960

Kojo Botsio – 1960-1966

H.P. Nyemetei – 1966-167, 1968-1971

Nana Fredua Mensah – 1967- 1968

Henry Djaba – 1971- 1972

Lt. Col Bob Kotei – 1972- 1973

Lt. Col Brew Graves – 1973- 1975

Maj. George Lamptey – 1975- 1977

Maj. D.O. Asiamah – 1977- 1979

Justice Aboagye – 1979

Sam Okyere – 1980, 1986- 1989

S.K. Mainoo – 1981- 1982

Zac Bentum – 1982- 1983

Lawton Ackah Yensu- 1983-1984

Kate Caesor – 1984

Elias Teye – 1984- 1986

Awuah Nyamekye – 1990- 1992

Joe Lartey – 1992

Nana Brew- Butler – 1993- 1997

Alhaji M.N.D. Jawula -`1997- 2000

Ben Koufie – 2001 – 2003

Dr. Nyaho-Tamakloe – 2004- 2005

Kwesi Nyantekyi – 2005 – present


Contributors: Godfred Budu Yeboah