CIES Report: Ghana has exported 286 footballers in 2019


When Ghana’s exports are mentioned, one will often think of agricultural products like cocoa and timber or natural resources like gold and oil.

However, per the International Centre for Sports Studies’s Football Observatory, Ghana exports football players too and so far, in 2019, 286 players have left Ghana to ply their trade elsewhere.

This was contained in the Football Observatory report released in May this year.

According to the report which looked at player migration patterns in 147 leagues across 98 national associations, Ghana gave the footballing world 39 more players as compared to 2018.

The change represents a 13.6 percent increase in player exports.

Even though the report does not state the destinations of these Ghanaian players, transfers that have taken place in the period have seen players head to leagues in countries like Nigeria, Spain, Italy and Slovakia.

However, Ghana is not the African continent’s biggest provider of players to the 147 leagues covered in the report.

That honour went to Nigeria after they exported 361 players in the period under review.

Which country exports the most players?

Brazil. The South American nation has exported 1,330 players in 2019 and that marked an increase of 64 players or 4.8 percent as compared to 2018.

So does Ghana import players?

Well, not a lot, to be honest. Per the Football Observatory report, the Ghanaian League has 0.9 expatriates per club on the average.

So which league has the most expatriate footballers?

Per the Football Observatory report, it is, surprisingly, Cyprus. It has 17.5 expats per club in their club and that represents 63% of the player population.

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The Italian Serie A (16.1 per club), the Portuguese Primera Liga (16.0 per club), the Turkish Super Lig (15.7), the Belgian First Division (15.4 per club) and the Premier League in England (15.2 per club follow in that order when we talk about expat players in terms of leagues.

However, England tops the list when it comes to the number of foreign players with 728.

Italy is second with 636 and the USA is 3rd with 575.

South Africa is 29th with 152 expat players.

The full report can be found on


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