Andrew asks the Togolese Minister of Sport about the history of football in Togo. He calls Eloian Salo Kodjo Koffi, the National Director of Sport in Togo, who provides him with this answer:
“The history of football in Togo has had many ups and downs. A great deal of its early progress is due to the involvement of the army and of the Catholic community. But football in Togo didn’t really develop in any meaningful way until the 1940s and didn’t really take off until Togo participated in the African Championships in Brazzavillle, Congo in 1964, shortly after joining the African Football Federation, CAF.”
Comparing Togo with its neighbour Ghana brings up an interesting question. Namely, why did football begin in Ghana 40 years earlier than in Togo when the two countries neighbour each other and when their capitals are only a few hundred kilometres apart? To answer this question one needs to understand the differences in colonial influence. Ghana (formerly known as Gold Coast) was a British colony and entertained a form of government that gradually encouraged the playing of ball sports and with them interaction between the colonizers and the colonized. Some sports were kept for whites only — like cricket and golf — but football, the working class sport of Great Britain, was encouraged and played by all. The French administration throughout West Africa employed a different attitude altogether. They curtailed the playing of football and other sports with the locals. It didn’t last long, thankfully.
Written by The Ball on Friday, April 30th, 2010
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