This post was prompted by a query from a new reader to this site who wrote all the way from Santos, Brazil. His was a simple question. Why white? As in, why do the Black Stars wear white jerseys? Italy have blue as in azzurri, the Dutch have orange as in oranje, the Swiss have red as in there is red in their flag and so on.
But Ghana, no white in our flag and yet white it is. I thought about it for a second and was about to give a very uninformed answer such as we are a very religious people and white is generally the color of angels so to have them on our side, we chose white. Then I thought, that is daft!!! So I waited a minute and called my source(s)!!!
Here is what I came up with.
The original national team jersey was white with the black star on it. When the Black Stars were first formed under Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, they had a Black Star at the back and to make it more prominent they had a white background. At the time and even now, the Black Star became a prominent symbol of Black pride.
Essentially, what we have done is to go back to Nkrumah’s Ghana so to speak. You will notice that it is not as prominently displayed as before. Puma has the Star woven into the fabric and it doesn’t stand out as much as it used to (And yes I was there chatting with Nkrumah as he unveiled it). Not! Would Nkrumah be rolling in his grave? Who knows, but I guess times have changed.
Over the years and throughout the 90s when I was growing up, they experimented with various jerseys and I am used to some color in them. In fact, the color became more prominent in the 70s and 80s. I guess someone thought they should be sexed up like US intelligence reports.
At one time, you could find yellow shirts with black trimmings and yellow shorts. Those were the days. I remember Abedi Pele and Tony Yeboah strutting their stuff in the sunflower yellows with their tight ‘sezy’ shorts. You remember CAN ’96 held in South Africa? Men will do anything to get noticed, won’t they!!! But I digress.
There is also some variation of a red, gold and green with the Black Star like the one at this link. That one was worn in the 80s I believe. You probably could not have this anymore as FIFA has many guidelines as to what jerseys should look like. For instance, the jerseys cannot have more than two colors. Also, if there is more than one color, you have to use a combination of light and dark colors.
In any case, for those who want color, our away jersey is bright red with strips of yellow. That would brighten any dull day. I would say though that given our history, the missing Black Star in this away strip is heresy!!!
In conclusion, our national emblem is the black star and so when you think of the Ghana jersey you should think more of the star than the colors of the flag. If you must think flag, recall away jersey.
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SA, here we come.