Preview: Black Queens ready to rewrite Olympic history

The national senior women’s football team, Black Queens, may have recorded many unfortunate results in their quest to secure qualification to the World Olympic Games since 2004. However, there appears to be a renewed hope as the Queens begin yet another journey to grab a ticket to the 2024 Olympic Games to be staged in Paris.

In 2004, the Queens missed the boat to Athens after losing 2-3 on penalties to the Super Falcons of Nigeria in the final qualifying game played in Accra. And again in 2008, Nigeria beat Ghana 2-0 in Abuja to book a place in the women’s tournament at the Olympic Games in Beijing.

Also in 2012 (London Olympics), the Queens suffered an embarrassing exit from the qualifiers, despite beating Ethiopia 2-1 in their second leg duel at the El-Wak Stadium in Accra. They needed a 2-0 win to cancel a one goal deficit suffered in the first leg in Addis Ababa.

The losing trend continued in 2016 (Rio Olympics) and 2020 (Tokyo Olympics) after the Queens were eliminated in the qualifiers by Cameroon after a 2-2 drawn game and an agonising a 0-1 away defeat to the Harambee Starlets of Kenya respectively.

However, the Queens, both in character and word, have given assurance of their readiness to rewrite history as they take on the Syli National Women of Guinea on Friday, July 14, at the Stade General Lansana Conte in Nongo, Conakry, at 4p.m.

The last time the two teams locked horns in an Olympic qualifier in 2012, the Ghanaians won 2-0  after skipper Florence Okoe and Portia Boakye scored a goal each.

Ahead of Friday’s encounter, Swiss coach, Nora Häuptle, has assured Ghanaians that every hurdle will be surmounted this time, banking her hopes on the quality of players in camp, together with the trial matches lined up to seal the deal for the Paris Games.

“Somehow, we are going to face Zambia and Morocco who are part of the World Cup which is beginning in two weeks, so it will not be an easy route but I’m pretty convinced that with the quality of players we have and the number of matches played, we have the chance to qualify,” she said.

Defender Linda Eshun also gave an assurance that the team was ready and focused on delivering the ultimate after taking a cue from the experiences of the recently dissolved Black Meteors team at the just-ended U-23 AFCON held in Morocco.

“The team is focused and only need the support of Ghanaians to deliver in this Olympic campaign,” Linda said at a pre-departure press conference.

After a week of rigorous training, the expatriate coach settled on 23 players to help fulfil the team’s promise.

Goalkeepers Cynthia Fiindib Konlan of Swieqi United, Safiatu Salifu of Yanga Princesses and Kerri McCarthy of Kumasi Sports Academy will have the task of managing the posts if any of them is selected in the starting line-up.

The defensive job will be on the shoulders of Linda Eshun (Hasaacas Ladies), Janet Egyir (Hapoel Jerusalem Katamon), Justice Tweneboah (BIIK Kazygurt), Anastasia Achiaa (Ampem Darkoa Ladies), Adam Alhassan (Army Ladies), Portia Boakye (Djurgarden IF), Mavis Owusu (Ampem Darkoa Ladies) and Susan Ama Duah (Avaldsnes FC).

Expected to lead the attack are Princella Adubea (Kiryat Gat), Mary Amponsah (Ampem Darkoa Ladies), Vivian Adjei Konadu (Gokulam Kerala FC), Gifty Assifuah (1207 Antalyaspor) and Doris Boaduwaa (Hasaacas Ladies).

While Ernestina Abambila (TME SMS Lodz), Grace Asantewaa (Real Betis Feminas), Azuma Bugre (IFK Norrkoping), Evelyn Badu (Avaldsnes FC), Fidous Yakubu (Ampem Darkoa Ladies), Jennifer Cudjoe (FC Nordsjaelland) and Stella Nyamekye (Dreams Ladies) will handle the midfield.

The return leg is slated for Accra.

In other fixtures, Guinea Bissau will clash with Benin on Friday, Namibia versus Equatorial Guinea on Saturday, July 15 while Ethiopia play Chad also on Saturday.

SOURCE: GraphicOnline

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