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14.11.2008 Football News

Time up! Queens To End Falcons' Dominance

Time up! Queens To End Falcons' Dominance

Any football match, regardless of what is at stake, which pitches Ghana against neighbouring Nigeria, is a potential high-tension game that has all the ingredients that make the sport what it is.

On Sunday in Equatorial Guinea's second city of Bata, another explosive encounter between these two strong football rivals will take place when the Black Queens face the Super Falcons of Nigeria in their Group B opening game of the sixth African Women's Championship (AWC).

 

Even though the tournament opened yesterday with games between Cameroun and hosts, Equatorial Guinea, as well as with Mali and Congo, it is the Ghana-Nigeria game that seems to have attracted the attention of most female football fans.

Tagged as the two most prominent female sides on the continent, the Queens and the Falcons have crossed paths countless times, and on Sunday it will be yet another titanic clash that has more than just the points in this competition at stake.

The intrigues, the psychological games, the revenge game plan on the part of the Ghanaians, and business-as-usual attitude of the Nigerians are just a list of what are likely to spice up this match.

Two years ago, the Queens, as they did in the previous AWC encounters, lost the final event of the fifth edition to the Falcons in the competition held in Warri, and earlier this year, after two gruelling encounters, the Ghanaians lost the ticket to the 2008 Olympics Games to the Nigerians.

On Sunday, they clash at the group stage of the sixth AWC in a game that could go a long way to determine their fate at the competition.

Whoever wins that match, could end up winning the group spot, but it will be fruitless to predict who will win as clashes at this stage have always been a different ball game compared to the grand final meetings.

 

This is the third time the two are meeting at the group stage of the AWC. The first was in South Africa in 2000 where they played a 1-1 drawn game, while the Queens won 1-0 in their second clash at Warri in 2002.

While their clashes have been regular, the two sides have seen a lot of changes in their teams, with each side parading new faces who have graduated from especially the Under-20 side. That, however, will not tone down the rivalry between them, because even at that level, there has also been very strong contest.

The Nigerians are expected to parade the same team that eliminated the Queens from the Olympics, while the Ghanaians have kept majority of the players who featured in that qualifier.

Coach Gamel Mumuni and his technical men believe this time around they will have the edge over the Nigerians, stressing they have to find a way of ending the Nigerian dominance.

“We can't continue playing second fiddle to them any time we clash. We have what it takes to beat them and we only hope we will get it right in our opening game,” he said of their clash.

With ever-dependable goalkeeper Memunatu Sulemana, defenders Aminatu Ibrahim, Olivia Amoako, Portia Boakye and Yaa Avoe, as well as other experienced players like Adjoa Bayor, Florence Okoe, Gloria Foriwaa and Diana Ankomah, all having had a feel of Nigeria clashes and defeats, they may now have found the antidote to at least celebrate after Sunday.

In the other Group B game, South Africa will play Tunisia, the only North African representative at the competition.

Preview by Rosalind Amoh

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