Queens Sail Through
THREE STUNNING strikes from Ama Saabi in the 23rd minute, Anita Amankwah in the 30th minute and Florence Okoe, 5 minutes into the second half, were enough to secure a place for the Black Queens in this year's African Women Championship (AWC) to be held in Equatorial Guinea in November.
Mama Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire who managed to eliminate Senegal in the preliminary rounds on 4-1 aggregate, fumbled in Accra when they conceded three unanswered goals, after an impressive 1-1 drawn game with the Queens in Abidjan two weeks ago.
The Ivorian team proved very stubborn from the blast of the referee's whistle with robust play but it was obvious that lack of experience would be the bane of the West Africans.
Ghanaian fans were relieved when the Queens led two goals to nil in the first half and scored a third in the second half.
Cote d'Ivoire's young female coach, Koudougnon Adelaide who spoke to DAILY GUIDE SPORTS after the game, was perhaps being realistic when she made it clear that even if they had qualified, her team had no great expectations in Equatorial Guinea come November.
She admitted that the Black Queens were a good side, but that the three goals they conceded in Accra was very painful.
“If the Queens prepare well, it is possible that they could beat Nigeria to become the best in Africa. I wish them good luck in the sixth African Women Championship to be staged in Equatorial Guinea,” she added.
According to her, when the draw was conducted in Cairo and their country happened to be in the same group with the Black Queens, it made their task arduous because the standard of women's football in Ghana was higher than that of Cote d'Ivoire as the girls were still in the learning process.
“Given the pedigree of our opponents in the qualifiers it was better for us to meet teams such as Mali, Guinea or other West African countries apart from Ghana and Nigeria who are the two leading women soccer nations on the continent,” Koudougnon acknowledged.
According to the head coach of the Black Queens, Mumuni Gamel, after the Queens' first training session when he took over the team, he realized that the girls lacked endurance, and he was then compelled to also inject some disciplinary measures into the team and it worked to perfection.
“Because the Ivorians were a good side, I had to instruct my girls to use long passes upfront especially at the flanks to overcome them,” he noted.
Talking about the substitution of Queens' skipper Adjoa Bayor, coach Mumuni said the girl herself asked to leave the field because according to her she had a light knock on the leg.