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11 October 2020 | in NUSF News, FISU Student Ambassadors

What the Ghana Universities Sports Association is all about

Ghana 5A student’s basic lifestyle is studying, writing, reading and participation in extra-curricular activities such as sports. The National University Sports Federation (NUSF) which is known in Ghana as GUSA (Ghana Universities Sports Association), has achieved a lot since it was founded having given people more opportunities to explore the many options and benefits that extra-curricular activities like sports provides. As they say, ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’.


It is also proven that other activities such as sports helps develop the body and mind keeping it healthy as well as giving the brain quite a boost. Final year student of the University of Cape Coast, who doubles as the SRC Sports Chair of the university and FISU representative of Ghana Mohammed Halim, met with the President of the GUSA, Mr Shaibu Ibrahim Tanko to discuss sports organisation in Ghana.


From 1964, the three existing public universities in Ghana began having biennial games without a central organising body. The idea of the formation of Ghana University Sports Association (GUSA) occurred in 1965 when the three universities of Ghana attended the maiden West Africa University Games (WAUG) held in March 1965 at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. The Ghanaian universities realised that there was in existence a Nigeria University Games Association (NUGA) which organised competitions for Nigerian universities.


Upon their return, Prof. ET Kodzi, then coach of the University of Cape Coast, was tasked to draft a constitution for GUSA, which was adopted in 1969. This is how the association GUSA was formed


Ghana 3Since 1969, GUSA’s activities have mainly been organising annual games and engaging in other competitions at national (Unity Games) and international levels (WAUG, FASU and FISU). With the initial membership of three public universities- University of Ghana, University of Cape Coast and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, GUSA now has eleven members.


The other members are University of Education, Winneba, University of Development Studies, University of Mines and Technology, University of Professional Studies, Accra, University of Energy and Natural Resources, Ghana Institute of Journalism, University of Health and Allied Sciences, and Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.


In 2013, the constitution of GUSA was reviewed and private universities were allowed to join the association. It is hoped that with this new development, membership will increase. The future of GUSA is exciting as the federation is in discussion with other tertiary institutions in order to move towards including all tertiary institutions in “university” sports, as is the case of many other countries.


Ghana 4In an interview with the president of GUSA, he honourably mentioned some key figures that made the association a reality. These were the first leaders of the association. The first president, Sam Blankson (University of Cape Coast), secretary, ET Kodzi (University of Cape Coast) and several others who played leadership roles in the growth of GUSA especially, His Excellency John Evans Atta Mills, former President of Ghana.


The President of GUSA, Mr Tanko apprises that the total reach of the Association in terms of numbers of universities and students are eleven (11) Universities of which two joined in the recent 2020 GUSA games in January whilst the students’ population was about 300,000. When asked about the kind of information communicated to the universities and students, the president said “we communicate information regarding sporting activities which includes but not limited to programmes for the year, venues for upcoming meetings, number of days and agenda.”


Talking about the future of the association in terms of goals, the president stated “Our long term goals is to see the association grow, both in numbers as in membership and give GUSA a greater visibility by participating in all or most international competition like FISU, FASU, Football World Cup, WAUG, African Olympics Games and other fora related to Sports in our universities. Our short term goal is to fulfil the immediate issues as in reorganizing the association in order that it will attract sponsorship for our meetings, events, forums and games.


By 2020 as in the year under review, GUSA would like to complete its assigned responsibilities, that is, planned schedule programs, putting in place all adhoc committees. The current crop of executive mandate in ends in January 2024 but we could go beyond five years if we perform better which I believe we will.”


The president emphasises on how serious the association takes gender equality in projects, events and programmes. “GUSA takes gender equality very serious during our games as such it is all inclusive in addition to awards and rewards of athletes. Similarly GUSA believes sports contributes significantly to fitness, health, the economy, self-development, shape community values, attitudes and behaviour of athletes so we don’t condone discrimination. Going forward, I would like to reiterate that, GUSA does not segregate in any chosen discipline which does have both sexes taking part”.  


Ghana 2The president’s excitement and disappointment about hosting GUSA games in 2022 as well as hosting FASU games was not missed.


He was delightful and expecting to host the biennial GUSA games and also having the opportunity to host FASU in Ghana for the first time which without doubt GUSA’s biggest events over the next two years.


“The most exciting thing about these big two events would be hosting Africa in Ghana. This would have been really good for the nation as Ghana prepares to host Africa again in 2023 Africa Games” he said. However, his disappointment was due to the drawback COVID-19 may cause having shown its ugly head as it is automatically going to change the dynamics of planned activities.


“The Corona virus has definitely caused many setbacks in many areas in the world today including activities of GUSA. It has really affected our planned activities for the year”. He further indicated that the best event in 2019 organized was the MINI GUSA which was hosted by University of Cape Coast adding that “It was special because no University had it easy and the patronage on the part of spectators was overwhelming. It was indeed a very exciting event and quite a sight”.


“GUSA is special because, we are the best well organized sporting association in Ghana. Our organizational abilities and our structures are well coordinated and worthy of emulation by any University sporting association in Africa. We have also contributed to various national teams from football to athletics. Some of our products or students are playing for various club level leagues and competitions ranging from football, volleyball, handball among others both in and outside Ghana.”- The president, Mr Tanko remarks on how special the Association is and what makes it so.


Ghana’s sports association has come very far indeed. The association has since grown and like any other organisation, has faced and overcome many challenges over the years. It is also very much looking forward to achieving more especially, producing quality athletes for the national teams.