The Ghana national football team, popularly known as the Black Stars, is the national association football team of Ghana and is controlled by the Ghana Football Association. Before gaining independence from Great Britain in 1957, the country played as the Gold Coast.
Although the team did not qualify for the senior FIFA World Cup until 2006 they had actually qualified for five straight Olympic Games Football Tournaments when the tournament was still a full senior National Team competition. The team have won the African Cup of Nations four times[ (in 1963, 1965, 1978, and 1982), making Ghana the second most successful team in the contest’s history, behind Egypt.
Ghanaian teams has enjoyed considerable success in FIFA’s age-restricted tournaments. The Ghana U17 team, the Black Starlets, have won the FIFA Under-17 World Cup title twice and finished as runner-up twice. The Ghana U20 team, the Black Satellites, became the first African country to win the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt in 2009. In the Final, they beat Brazil 4-3 on penalties. They have also finished twice as a runner-up in the tournament. The Ghana Olympic Team, the Black Meteors, became the first African Country to win a medal in Football at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
After going through 2005 unbeaten, Ghana won the FIFA World Rankings Most Improved team of the year award and they reached the second round of the 2006 Germany World Cup.
The Ghana Amateur Football Association was founded in 1957, soon after the country’s independence, and was affiliated to both CAF and FIFA the following year, Englishman George Ainsley being appointed coach of the national team.
In 1960, the Black Stars played Spanish giants Real Madrid, who were at the time Spanish, European and intercontinental champions, and drew 3-3.
Charles Kumi Gyamfi became coach in 1961, and Ghana won successive African Cup of Nations titles, in 1963 and 1965, and achieved their record win, 13-0 away to Kenya, shortly after the second of these. They also reached the final of the tournament in 1968 and 1970, losing 1-0 on each occasion, to DR Congo and Sudan respectively. Their domination of this tournament earned the country the nickname of “the Brazil of Africa” in the 1960s. The team had no success in FIFA World Cup qualification during this era, and failed to qualify for three successive African Cup of Nations in the 1970s, but qualified for the Olympic Games Football Tournaments, reaching the quarter finals in 1964 and withdrawing on political grounds in 1976 and 1980.
Ghana again won the African Cup of Nations in 1978, retaining the Abdelaziz Abdallah Salem Trophy in perpetuity for having won it three times, and 1982, but a relatively barren period followed, with the full national team dominating the short lived West African Nations Cup from 1982-87, but making little progress in continent-wide competitions until the appointment of Burkhard Ziese as coach in 1991. The 1992 African Cup of Nations, after three failures to reach the final tournament, saw Ghana finish second, beaten on penalties in the final by Côte d’Ivoire.
Disharmony among the squad, which eventually lead to parliamentary and executive intervention to settle issues between two of the team, Abedi Pele and Anthony Yeboah, may have played some part in the failure of the team to build on the successes of the national underage teams. Ghana slipped to 89th place in the FIFA World Rankings, but a new generation of players who went to the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship final became the core of the team at the 2002 African Cup of Nations and the 2004 Olympic Games, and were undefeated for a year in 2005 and reached the finals of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the first time the team had reached the global stage of the tournament. Ghana started with a 2-0 defeat to eventual champions Italy, but wins over the Czech Republic (2-0) and USA (2-1) saw them through to the second round, where they were beaten 3-0 by Brazil. On 5 September 2009 won 2:0 against Sudan national football team and qualified oneself to the second in aftermath.
Ghana were the only African side to advance to Round 2 of 2006 FIFA World Cup (Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Angola, and Tunisia were all eliminated in group play), and the sixth nation in a row from Africa to progress beyond the group stages of the World Cup. Ghana was the youngest team in the FIFA World Cup 2006 with an average age of 23 yrs and 352 days.
Because of Ghana’s performances in the tournament, there has been praise for their continuous efforts to push forward and their fearless attitude. Greece Coach Otto Rehhagel told FIFA.com, the teams you used to regard as a little behind tactically, the Africans for example, have caught up. They’re physically even better off than we are, as they have tremendous natural athleticism, and they’ve come on enormously in the areas which were non-existent before, discipline and tactics for example. Every team which faced Ghana or Cote d’Ivoire knew they’d been in a game. FIFA.com says Black stars ascend to glory. BBC says: Ghana going forward.