In honour of women’s football in Ghana and around the world, we take a look at the most memorable household name in Ghana female football; outwardly shy and reserved, Adjoa Bayor. Adjoa Bayor has a good career in female footbal. Starting off as a discovery talent, she rose to lead the Ghana national team and also signed major international deals to play for FC Indiana and others.
Despite her humble beginning, she has risen to become influential in her own right in the sport industry as one of the favorite female football stars in Ghana, Africa, and the world at large.
Early Life of Grace Adjoa Bayor
Grace Adjoa Bayor, popularly known as “Adjoa Bayor”. Born May 17th, 1979 in Accra. Adjoa started her football career as early as 8 years old, playing football with male friends in Abeka, Accra where she lived with her family, as stated in her interview with Deloris Frimpong Manso on the Delay show in 2019.
Bayor was originally discovered by a lady who in turn introduced her to Ghana Telecom Women’s team. While attending St. Thomas preparatory school in Abeka, Accra. This exposure with an all-women’s team brought her many travel experiences outside the country.
The name “Adjoa Bayor” became a household name when played against La Ladies of Accra with the Ghana Telecom women’s team, where she was seen by many local spectators. She later began her studies in Martin Luther school alongside playing football, through which she was awarded a scholarship to attend college at Robert Morris University in Illinois, USA but quit one year shy of completion to focus on her football career in the early 2000.
Grace Adjoa Bayor: National And International Club Career
Adjoa was originally called to the Black Queens Squad in 1997 where she played as an attacking midfielder but did not captain the team until 2002/2003 upon the retirement of Alberta Sackey. She was part of the Black Queens team at the FIFA 1999 Women’s World Cup played in the USA.
She was also part of the World All-Stars Team to play against the China women’s national team in April 2007 at Wuhan, China. In September 2007, Adjoa once again captained the Ghana National team at the World Cup in China. Though ghana did not go through, she scored a remarkable goal from a freekick against Norway.
Adjoa Bayor was voted for and won African Women Footballer of the year in 2003 by CAF and was in contention in 2004 and 2006, respectively.
Adjoa Bayor had been in active football for Ghana for 24 years until her retirement in 2010. She played internationally and locally for teams FC INDIANA, USA (Recognized by FIFA for a successful off-season highlight in 2007), FF USV JENA, GERMANY, GHATEL LADIES, GHANA.
Grace Adjoa Bayor; Titles, Honours And Recognition
- Adjoa Bayor was voted for and won African Women Footballer of the year in 2003 by CAF, which was the second time a Ghanaian (Alberta Sackey) had won the award. When asked about the award, she stated at the time “I was overjoyed when I heard the news and I later celebrated with my friends”.
- Nominated for the 2004 and 2006 African Women Footballer of the year, respectively.
- She has won more than 60 caps for Ghana. Including player of the match award for the first 2-1 victory over Australia’s women’s team in the group stages at the FIFA Women’s World cup Finals in 2003 held in Wuhan, China.
- Made 3x world cup appearance for Ghana.
- Adjoa was selected in 2018 by CAF to assist Deputy General Secretary in Football and development Anthony Baffoe to conduct the draw for Africa Women’s cup of Nations.
- She played in the African Cup of Nations 12x 2 years (24 years).
- Shortlisted for the Female African player of the year 2010 which she won against favorite Perpetual Nkwocha of Nigeria.
Kwabena Yeboah, president of the Sports Writer’s Association Of Ghana mentioned in 2020 that “ Adjoa Bayor, to be honest with you, I believed she could have been a striker for Great Olympics in those days, such an excellent player”.
Grace Adjoa Bayor’s Personal Life
She currently lives a simple and modest life in Pokuase, Ghana with her boyfriend. When asked if she has any regrets, she said no she has none. Adjoa currently works with the Ghana immigration service. She is not married and has no children yet but says it is in the pipeline.
Grace’s Legacy And Cultural Impact
Adjoa Bayor is regarded as one of the most influential and greatest Ghanaian female footballers to have ever played for Ghana, credited with breaking ethnic barriers in the sports (football) industry. With advice to the new crop of players for the 2018 Women’s Cup of Nations, in an interview in 2018, Adjoa advised them to be selfless and to think of Ghana.
Grace Adjoa Bayor’s life may look and sound like it is from a fairytale book, full of roses, love, laughter, but all of these were not handed over to her on a silver platter but rather through dedication, hard work and personal sacrifices.
I believe her life story’s advice can be used to encourage the young generation to pursue their dreams and to look at the “bigger picture” to complete the task ahead.