Maidens open campaign against hosts Uruguay … In Under-17 World Cup tournament

Mukarama Abdulai – Skipper, Maidens

Mukarama Abdulai – Skipper, Maidens

GHANA’s national female cadet soccer team, Black Maidens, will this evening begin the quest for World Cup glory when they take on the Celestial of Uruguay in the official opening game of the 2018 FIFA U-17 World Cup at the Estadio Charrúa, Montevideo Uruguay.

The Maidens’ best showing at the biannual showpiece has been a third place finishing at the 2012 edition in Azerbaijan, a feat the then assistant coach to Didi Dramani, Evans Adotey  – who is now at the helm of affairs, says he is hoping to replicate – if not winning the Mundial.

Coincidentally, the Azerbaijan tournament was the first ever World Cup appearance Ghana’s opponents and tournament host Uruguay previously took part in where they failed to collect a single point in the group phase and finished 14th out of the 16 teams.

Certainly, Ghana ranks high above the Uruguayans, having answered the roll at every edition of the tournament, beginning with New Zealand 2008.

This puts them ahead of their opponents for this evening’s game, looking at the rich experience of the side in the history of the tournament. However, the uncertainty of football makes today’s game hard to predict, especially the opposition being the host.

“They would have everything in their favour, the whole nation, the whole South American continent and even the air around the stadium would be for them, but when we start playing I believe all this would change,” Coach Adotey told the Times Sports ahead of the night, insisting that the Maidens are the favourites.

“Yes, we have little information on our opponents but our week’s stay in Brazil has given us an overview of what to expect from the host this evening and we are geared up for the challenge.”

Coach Adotey, who oversaw Ghana’s campaign at the last edition which ended at the quarter finals stage, believes the side has what it takes to even win the tournament.

“My aim is to get to the finals or at least replicate the feat of the 2012 batch.”

However, in the likes of Angela Gomez, who scored four goals at the South American Championship, a tally that made her the competition’s joint second-highest scorer, the Uruguayans also have a predator striker who if given the room to operate can unlock the Ghanaian defence.

But Ghana has a more lethal weapon in front of goal in the person of skipper Mukarama Abdulai, who finished the qualifiers with 12 goals in four matches.

Her combination with fellow strike partners Millot Abena Pokuaa, Elshaddai Acheampong and Alice Sarpong could prove problematic for the host if skipper Daniela Olivera, Sofia Ramondegui and Maytel Costa do not find antidote to keep them at bay.

The West African giants will also face Finland on Friday before playing New Zealand in the last Group A game next Tuesday.

BY RAYMOND ACKUMEY

 

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