In the 1960s and 1970s was the era of student-players who participated in the Academicals competition which was created to develop grassroots football in the local communities.
The Academicals competitions in various sports influenced the development of sports in secondary schools.
The Academicals were extended and made international with the introduction of annual competitions between the national teams of selected secondary school students. The best of them was the Ghana and Nigeria Academicals football competition designed strictly for students assembled from regional and national academicals competitions in both countries.
There was no age restriction for participants. The only criterion for participation was to be a bona fide student in a secondary school. The result was that football in the country developed in leaps and bounds catalyzed by schools’ programmes.
There were no trophies for winning the competition but the real motivation was developing elite sport and elite athletes in schools.
Players used their actual ages playing in the academicals since the only criterion to play, was that they should be bonafide students.
The late Emmanuel Anue Kofie, a former Black Stars, Great Olympics, and Kumasi Asante Kotoko goalkeeper was also former a National Academicals player.
The late coach Cecil Jones Attuquayefio was also a National Academicals player from 1962–1965.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic former Kumasi Asante Kotoko midfielder in the late ’60s, Kwabena Adusei called on the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) to reintroduce the defunct Academicals football team to help make the senior national team, Black Stars, very active.
He mentioned that the Academicals were a team of students selected from various secondary schools and colleges during their inter-regional football competitions, was a great concept because those who excelled were selected to form the nucleus of the student national soccer team.
“Invariably, these players from the Academicals metamorphosed into the senior national team,” he said.
If the country takes another look at this competition again there will be an endless supply of elite athletes and players to help the country gain lots of laurels consistently.