Ghana Flying Disc Association Quickly Establishing Ultimate in the Country

The organization hopes to host a national league, travel to WFDF events

The first official game of the Ghana Flying Disc Association. Photo: GFDA.

Late last year, Desmond Mantey, the CEO of a non-profit organization in Ghana that provides free after-school sports and cultural programming for children, started thinking about a new sport to offer.

“Not every kid was interested in football (soccer),” he said.

Mantey has spent the last eight months developing the brand new Ghanian Flying Disc Association (GFDA) to help establish ultimate and other disc sports in the country. While the capital city of Accra has hosted a pickup game since 2015 mostly comprised of expats from the US and Europe, the GFDA is setting its sights on growing the sport with the local population.

Progress has been swift. After reaching out to the World Flying Disc Federation and All-Africa Flying Disc Federation for guidance and support, the GFDA has also met with the local sports ministry, who has offered up field space for ultimate and disc sports. Clinics and practices have been ongoing, and just last week, the organization hosted its first official game.

For this year, the GFDA is hoping to develop leaders that can help teach the sport across Accra and eventually the entire country. “Our number one focus is on the coaching,” said Mantey. About 70% of the organization’s time is being spent on training coaches with help from some of the more experienced players in the city. The GFDA hopes to have certified community coaches in place by the end of 2021.

“Knowledge of the rules of the game is very essential to the success of our project,” wrote the GFDA recently on its Facebook page. “GFDA will strictly ensure that our coaches, athletes and all those connected to the game will be accredited in line with WFDF stipulation

The longer-term goals are ambitious: 50 clubs up and running in universities and the community by the end of 2022. An appearance at the WFDF World Club Championships. And inclusion in the 2023 Africa Games, a quadrennial multi-sport event under the Olympic banner that will be held in Ghana for this cycle.

Much like the sport’s development in the United States, Ghana hopes to focus on getting the sport into universities before focusing on developing secondary school opportunities. The GFDA is also going to try to leverage the robust infrastructure of the local soccer clubs for community-based competition. “We are going to support them to create ultimate clubs,” said Mantey. In time, there will be a competitive national league.

An American player and organizer, Jim Heneghan, has started a GoFundMe to raise money to buy discs to send to the GFDA for use in their programming; it’s just $80 away from its $1000 goal.

Mantey said that getting 1,000 discs would be ideal and that they are also seeking support for their coaching program and elite athlete program that will send a Ghanian National Team to international events, possibly as soon as next year.

The GFDA will also work to bring disc golf and other disc sports and games to the country. But ultimate will remain the primary focus, said Desmond, who first learned about the sport when he played during a summer school program.

“It’s a very beautiful game,” he said.

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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