2018 AWCON: Four lessons from Ghana’s game against South Africa

Accra,- Host nation, for the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON), Ghana, has less than a week to wrap up preparations for the biggest women football competition on the continent.

As the tournament gets closer, the major question that keeps increasing in decibels is, “can Ghana host and win?”.

The Black Queens, played the Bayana Bayana of South Africa in their last per-tournament match at the renovated Accra Sports Stadium � one of the host venues and here are four things learnt from the game.

The LOC must increase publicity

The tournament starts from Saturday, November 17 to December 1, but its really sad how low the euphoria around the tournament has been as there is no feeling in town that Africa is coming to Ghana and everything seems normal.

The usual buzz you see with tournaments, where flags of participating countries and jerseys are seen everywhere, is missing. It seems everyone thinks it’s a women tournament and so not much can be invested in terms of media publicity.

For instance, Black Queens played Bayana Bayana on Sunday, with free gates, but the stadium was barely half filled.

It’s surprising that, at a time Ghanaians are thirsty for football, after the long break, we are unable to even fill half of the stadium by organisers, should be a wakeup call to the Local Organising Committee (LOC), else we would have a tournament in an empty stadium.

The new look Accra Sports Stadium

There were doubts as to whether Ghana could meet the infrastructural requirements, before the start of the tournament, with so much work needed at one of the host venues.

But the Accra Sports Stadium looks new and modernised now, with new floodlights, score board, media stands, seats and host of other facelifts in place. It looks more conducive at the moment and the grass looks fresh.

Admittedly, there are some works to be done at the stadium to complete the renovation, but that should be minor and expected to be fixed before the tournament starts, next Saturday.

The confident Black Queens

From the output of the team in the last game, it is obvious that, the team has grown on confidence and more to achieve something.

They played against one of the tournament favourites and handled them very well. The one goal win might have been their first victory in their last three friendlies, but if what we saw in the last game, is anything to go by then Ghana has a lot to show in the tournament.

The back led by Faustina Ampah looked compact and much stronger in the aerial duels. There were very few individual mistakes especially at the laterals of the defence and coach Hayford should have noted that for corrections.

The build up of the team was enjoyable, as they controlled the tempo of the game on each occasion, with Priscilla Okyere’s great control on the ball, with some insightful passes, it is obvious the strength of the team will rest on her shoulders.

Despite creating so many chances, the finishing could have been better in the third half of the pitch. Hayford has done a great job so far with the kind of confidence given the team, but must work on their conversion rate.

The team, has self-believe, looks convincing and so if there could be any great moment in the history of women football in Ghana, then the time has arrived.

The fans gave a great atmosphere for the Queens

Regardless of the fact that, the fans at the stadium could be counted, the numbers were not necessary as long as the team felt they were loved.

The kind of atmosphere that makes Anfield Stadium look dangerous ground was almost what we saw at the Stadium on Sunday.

The fans showed their hunger for success with the sort of support that can only intimidate opponents.

They encouraged the team, motivated them and jeered at the opponents. They could not be a better chance for Ghana to win their first AWCON trophy than this when the environment is more friendly.

Source: Ghana News Agency