“Nothing is decided yet. Yes, we suffered a bad defeat. But I can promise you: we will come back. And we will come back stronger. We will win against USA.”
These were the words of Ghana’s Black Maidens coach, Evans Adotey ahead of today’s fate defining clash against the United States of America at the ongoing FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
Having lost the first game 5-0 to the defending champions, Japan, the chances of the Black Maidens appear dimmed and do not stand any chance against the USA which is considered a powerhouse.
The Americans also started on a promising note, walloping Paraguay 6-1 on opening day and just like the Japanese, qualification will be in sight as they honour today’s round of matches.
Today at the King Abdullah 11 Stadium where Group D matches would be honoured, the focus would be on how the minnows, Ghana and Paraguay revive their chances against the favourites.
Japan and USA will feel justifiably confident of making it through with a game to spare considering the strength of the opposition.
Against the Japanese, the Ghanaian girls chased shaddows for 90 minutes and were lucky to have escaped with that scoreline.
But that has served as a rude awakening and are ready to bounce back stronger, knowing that a second defeat in a row could spell the end of their campaign.
As rightly indicated by coach Evans Adotey, all is not lost after losing the opening match. What that means is that the team must put the defeat behind and approach the US game as if their very lives depend on it.
An upset against the Americans will not only shock the entire world but suddenly breathe life into the Maidens’ campaign, knowing they have a comparative advantage in the next game against Paraguay.
With six goals already in their basket, the Americans will be out to cement their position as Jordan 2016’s joint-top scorers as well as sealing their advancement to the next stage of the competition.
That makes the Maidens’ dream of beating the American’s wishful thinking but football has not been touted an uncertain game for nothing.
Adotey’s girls are currently in high spirit for the game and if they do their home work well, could cause a major upset; failure to ensure this could result in another massacre.
The Maidens’ must keep their eyes on Civana Kuhlmann who fetched a hat-trick in the game against Paraguay.
She is quick and athletic and always at the right spot to finish moves while Ashley Sanchez would also trouble the Ghanaians.
The likes of Asuako, Hagan, Asantewaa and skipper Owusu Ansah must therefore overwork themselves not to just contain the Americans but to earn a vital point that could keep them in the tourney.
By Andrew Nortey