Ghana’s Black Maidens will be in action today as they welcome the Young Atlas Lionesses of Morocco in the first leg final round of qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup at the Accra Sports Stadium at 3pm.
Whereas the Black Maidens pursue a seventh appearance at the world showpiece slated for India in October, the Young Atlas Lionesses are chasing a ticket to make a maiden appearance.
This is the second time the two countries are meeting in the qualifiers.
The first experience was a nightmare for the Moroccans as they were thrashed 10-0 by the Maidens on their way to the 2016 World Cup in Jordan.
The Ghanaians have gone past this stage in their last six attempts, presenting a dicey challenge for the Moroccans who are at this stage for just the second time in their history.
The first time was a run-up to the 2018 World Cup where the lost 6-1 on aggregate to South Africa; denying them a first World Cup appearance.
Head Coach of the Black Maidens, Baba Nuhu has set a target to go beyond this stage of the qualifiers and match the feat of the Azerbaijan 2012 side that made it to the semifinals or beyond.
That will surely present the Moroccans with a tall hurdle to clear.
Coach Nuhu told the media yesterday that the team has not rested on their oars since putting Guinea to the sod.
“Coming to this stage of the qualifiers is not easy so once Morocco have made it to this stage,it means they are a worthy side. We’ll show them respect and di exactly what we have to do to qualify.”
The Moroccans whitewashed Niger 18-0 on aggregate en route to this stage.
That, according to Baba Nuhu should be enough to send shivers down the spine of any opponent.
The Young Atlas Lionesses are no strangers to coach Nuhu, having played the side in an international friendly game at the venue for today’s match in February 2022; a match the Maidens won 3-0.
For the Moroccans who first entered the competition in 2013 but withdrew after being paired against South Sudan in the first round, they are preparing to leave a mark on the competition this time around with some heavy investment in the women’s game.
In 2020, Morocco was paired in the second round against South Africa but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition was cancelled.
BY RAYMOND ACKUMEY