Home Institution

Villanova University

Publication Date

Fall 2010

Program Name

Ghana: Origins of African Identity


This research paper examines the relationship between sports and nationalism in Ghana. I draw on Ghana‟s performance in the 2010 FIFA World Cup as a major resource and site of argument in framing the research. Ghana, just like many other postcolonial African countries, has a multitude of ethnic groups and cultural variations; past governments worked very hard to cultivate a sense of nationalism Ghana. I am arguing that football transcends these differences or variations, especially since the culture of football is a significant tool in promoting expressions and feelings of unity and nationalism. I also argue that football is an integral part of the Ghanaian national identity, and has taken a very important place in society. The paper first outlines the history of Ghana and the history of football, before highlighting the prevalence of football and nationalism in Ghanaian society. I have employed examples of various local teams and Ghanaian footballers to show how football is linked with Ghanaian nationalism. Interviews have informed my conclusions, as well as extensive readings and field observation. The goal of the research is to expose the link between football and nationalism in the contemporary Ghanaian context and thus make a contribution to the sociological approaches to the subject of sports and nationalism.


Civic and Community Engagement | Social and Cultural Anthropology


Article Location