AWCON 2022 qualifiers… Black Queens clash with Super Eagles today

Ghana’s senior women’s national team, the Black Queens will today renew the rivalry with the Super Falcons of Nigeria in the first leg 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifier at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Lagos.

Connoisseurs of the women’s game around the world have raised eyebrows at the new format for qualification, which pitches some of the continent’s powerhouses against each other.

After crushing out at the group stages of the last AWCON tournament it hosted in 2018, the Black Queens have been eager to make amends by qualifying for the finals and possibly capturing it for the first time.

Having began camping in July, Coach Mercy Tagoe believes cohesion and the youthful nature of her squad would help them to overcome the Nigerians.

With the likes of Fafali Dumehasi of Police Ladies, Gladys Amfobea of Ladystrikers, Blessing Agomadzi of Hapoel Be’er sheva, Grace Asantewaa of Real Betis Feminas, Vivian Adjei Konadu of Thunder Queens, Sonia Opoku of Ampem Darkoa Ladies, Princella Adubea of Racing Feminas and skipper Portia Boakye of Dujarden IF making the squad, she remains positive for the results.

The absence of influential captain Elizabeth Addo has left many wondering if the team possesses the danger the Nigerians would be scared of.

Also missing from the Ghana side is enterprising midfielder Jennifer Cudjoe, Sherifatu Sumaila, Eunice Beckmann, Linda Eshun and Wasila Dawura-Soale.

But Coach Tagoe has explained that she has replacements who are ready to defend the flag of Ghana in both legs and secure passage to the next stage.

For the nine-time African champions, the Super Falcons would be led by new Head Coach, Randy Jordan Waldrum.

Since taking charge of the Super Falcons in February 2021, after Cote d’Ivoire eliminated them from the race to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he has overseen the teams’ preparation ahead of this game, grabbing three victories over CSKA Moscow Ladies, Uzbekistan and Equatorial Guinea.

The Super Falcons have since failed to live up to those expectations, failing to win any of the three games played in the Summer Series in the United States recently.

Losses to Jamaica, USA, and a draw with Portugal as well as a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the BayanaBayana of South Africa in the Aisha Buhari Cup held recently in Nigeria have all but raised doubts over coach Waldrum’s technical acumen.

With this history, the whole of Nigeria is waiting with bated breath to see how the side would perform against their bitter rivals, the Black Queens.

The Super Falcons would need the results against Ghana to convince Nigerians that the team is in good hands and the future is bright.

For coach Waldrum, he is well aware of his future being tied to this game, and nothing short of a convincing victory against Ghana would guarantee his future.

In Onome Ebi of Minsk FC, Rita Chikwelu of Madrid CFF, Asisat Oshoala of FC Barcelona, Francisca Ordega of CSKA Moscow, Gift Monday of FC Robo Queens, Desire Oparanozie of Dijon FC, Vivian Ikechukwu of River Angels, coach Waldrum has a fearsome side that according to Nigerians should cage the Ghanaians and pass this litmus test.

Togolese referee Vincentia Enyonam Amedome will handle the game and will be assisted by compatriot Abra Sitsofe Agbedanou and Sonia Louis from Benin with EdohKindedji from Togo as the Fourth Referee.

Souadatou Djallo-Kalkaba from Cameroon will serve as the Match Commissioner. Fadouma DiaDia from Senegal will act as Referee Assessor, while Sulaiman Onimisi Ohida from Nigeria works as COVID-19 Officer.

The Black Queens would host the return leg On Sunday at the Accra Sports Stadium.


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