Keta Sandlanders (Ghana)
League: Ghanaian Division 2
Home: Keta Secondary School Park
Chairman Frank Cole founded Keta Sandlanders FC in November 2002. The club was formed to bring top level football back to Keta and to revitalise the town in the process. The Sandlanders name derived from the location of Keta on a sand spit between the sea and a lagoon. The Keta townspeople lived on the sand and much of the town’s football was played on the sand too. It occurred to us that much of Africa’s football is played in this way and the name stuck. Today all of our clubs are Sandlanders clubs and our members are Sandlanders too.
Football in Keta goes back to the 1950′s when the Keta Highlanders played at the town’s London Park ground. Since this heyday, however, the game has been in decline in the area with London Park a victim of the coastal erosion which has devastated much of Keta town. Please see more on the history of the town and on our efforts to rejuvenate the London Park on our Community page.
The football leagues in Ghana consist of the Premier League, Division One League, Division 2 and in some areas a third division. The 16-team Premier League and 48-team Division One League (split into 6 mini leagues of 8 teams) are national leagues and the Division 2 in which we compete is regional. Last season there were 48 teams and this season there are a huge 88 teams in Volta Region Division 2 competing for a single qualifying place in the national Division One League. To qualify for the Division One League we must finish top of a mini league before competing against the winners of the other mini leagues at ‘Middle League’. Only the winner of Middle League will qualify for the Division One League.
Between March and August 2003 the original Sandlanders played a number of start-up friendly matches. Former African Champions Accra Hearts of Oak visited Keta as part of this build-up and left with a narrow 1-0 victory (their only goal scored by Ghanaian international Laryea Kingston). Another of our early opponents, Heart of Lions, are now one of Ghana’s best sides and regular Top-4 finishers.
On the back of a successful pre-season campaign we went straight into Division 2 competition in October 2003 and topped a group which featured Aflao Royals, Forest Sacrie, Three Town Tigers, Akatsi FC and Mighty Breakers.
Keta Sandlanders advanced to Middle League (which took place in April 2004) and progressed well before suffering a heart-breaking defeat in a penalty shoot-out in the Middle League final, a defeat that we would take some time to recover from.
After the Middle League disappointment of 2004, Keta Sandlanders did not return to competitive action until 2008 when our co-operative concept was born and we again competed in Ghana’s Division 2. We have competed at this level for the last 3 years and in each season have faced tough competition including Red Bull Soccer Academy (an academy side set up to feed Red Bull’s clubs in Salzburg and New York which has attracted some of the finest young talent from across West Africa). We have finished 2nd, 3rd and then 2nd again in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Division 2 mini league campaigns and our goal next season must be to top the mini league to make Middle League and a shot at Division One League qualification.
Alongside consolidation on the pitch we have spent the last few years developing a local co-operative to own and run Keta Sandlanders FC. The co-operative meets once a month at our club office in Keta town and meetings are chaired by Keta Chief Togbi James Ocloo V. The co-operative is run on a day to day basis by an elected board of directors tasked with looking after both the football side of the club and the development of a strong co-operative which invests in local community projects and businesses. In 2007 we launched an innovative website to allow international football fans to become associate members of the co-operative and the Sandlanders team has grown into Sandlanders Football – our UK based umbrella organisation which supports clubs across Africa.
We hope that members will be impressed by the standard of the game in Ghana as we set about developing a strong local football club. Our latest Division 2 campaign is scheduled to kick off on 23 January 2011 and we will publish the fixtures as soon as they are announced. Our semi-professional players are currently spending time at our camp in Keta training for the season ahead. We will be playing regular friendly matches in the build up to the season and will publish pictures, video and reports to keep members updated throughout.
Annual Budget: $15,000
Infrastructure: Rented club office, pitch and camp for the players
Squad Size: 23 players
Co-operative Members: 50
Associate Co-operative Members: 120