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23.04.2008 Sports News

No Need For Tears — Queens Coach

Ghana's senior female team, the Black Queens failed to qualify for this year's Olympic Games to be staged in Beijing, but that is no reason to be tearful, says caretaker coach, Gamel Abdul Mumuni.

Disappointing and heart-breaking the loss may be as his side failed to accomplish the main mission of going past almighty Brazil for the consolation ticket, Coach Mumuni believes the team's aim of picking some important lessons and gaining some experience from that match has been achieved.

In an interview with the Graphic Sports after his side had gone done 1-5 to the 2004 Olympic runners-up at the Workers Stadium in Beijing last Saturday, Coach Mumuni said: "Many people had predicted that we were going to be beaten and humiliated and some even suggested that we pull out as we could not face Brazil, but at the end, we lost but we were not humiliated as most people had thought.

I wish we could have kept the scoreline even lower, but they showed they had more experience and used their advantage very well.

"They did not outplay us, they had problems going through our midfield and even on the flanks, but I think the way we conceded the goals is a lesson well learnt and will guide us in the future," he explained.

In Coach Mumuni's opinion, his side were disadvantaged from the beginning as comparatively, his players lacked the experience and exposure as well as the physical height to match the towering Brazilians who came with their regular squad that had the likes of Marta, Cristiane and Daniela, Formiga and Maycon.

Coach Mumuni believed his side earned some respect as they held the Brazilians who, found it quite impossible to walk the ball into the Ghana net, but used set pieces to advantage.

Marta's opener in the 19th minute was from a freekick shot straight into the net and so were the goals from Aline (53rd), Cristiane (71st), Rosana (72nd) all from headers.

It was Brazil's second goal in the 42nd minute that saw Cristiane shrug off a challenge from Portia Boakye to lob the ball over goalkeeper Memunatu Sulemana.

"It is becoming clear that height can no longer be taken for granted. It is time we also looked out for players who have very good height and are equally good on the ball, to be groomed for the national teams, otherwise, we will always be at a disadvantage," he said.

His Brazilian counterpart, Jorge Leonardo Barcellos could not have agreed more with Mumuni, saying in laying the foundation for development, it was important to consider all options including stature.

"Women's football is not just about skill and talent anymore. Just like the men's game, it's good to have the height and strength. You see, it worked well for us, when we were hard pressed, we used our other asset and that paid off," he told the Graphic Sports.

He said right from the start and watching some old clips of the Queens' matches, he knew the Ghanaians were going to be tough customers and they needed to find a way out so for a considerable period of their training sessions, they just rehearsed their set pieces - freekicks, corners, heading the ball into the net and penalty kicks.

Coach Barcellos admitted he had some anxious moments especially in the first quarter of the game when he watched the Queens match his well-drilled and star-studded side boot for boot.

"Ghana's team is very good. They were more tactical and foiled our two-man attack. We would have had ourselves to blame had we underrated them. We could not afford to miss this last chance to be back in China for the Olympics.

They forced us to change our game plan from a two-man attack to a three-man attack before we could get the goals past them.

"The scoreline is very deceptive because we did not have it that easy. The Ghana team is dangerous and with the right technical direction and the needed experience, they could be very troublesome," Coach Barcellos said of the Queens in a post match interview.

Story by Rosalind Amoh

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