Ghana's female Under-17 side, the Black Maidens, left Accra for Australia last Tuesday to finalise their preparations for their first FIFA Women's World Cup (WWC).
They left with a promise to make an impact on the competition to be staged in New Zealand from October 26 to November 16.
Head coach, Abrahams Allotey, in a pre-departure conversation, told the Daily Graphic that the team will make the nation proud as they intend to draw the needed inspiration from the success of Ghana football at the international level.
“ Ghana is known for the quality of play and immense talent in football. We hope to draw on that recognition to inspire us even though we intend to put up a splendid performance to earn our own respect,” Coach Allotey said.
Even though he admits the tournament is the first main international competition for the Maidens, the team will draw inspiration from the sterling performance of the Under-14 side that won the special FIFA tournament in Zurich two years ago to chart their own course at the Under-17 level.
“ When the Under-14 girls won the FIFA tourney in Zurich two years ago, they had no international exposure or experience.
Thankfully, most of the girls who played in the Under-14 have graduated into the Under-17, and after all the qualifiers and the training tour of Germany, I'm sure we have had good exposure.
The final preparations in Australia are just to help us acclimatise to the weather conditions in New Zealand as they have similar conditions,” Coach Allotey explained.
He said the 10 days spent in Germany earlier this month helped the team greatly in their speed work, tactical play, as well as improve their physical condition.
The next week to be spent in Australia is thus to help them to psychologically prepare for the competition, as well as acclimatise to the weather which is similar to New Zealand's.
The team is expected to arrive in Christchurch, New Zealand, by October 26 and play their first Group B game against North Korea on October 29. The other teams in the Group are Germany and Costa Rica.