The Black Maidens yesterday fell out of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan after a spirited battle against their North Korean counterparts.
It was a tie we watched with bated breath as the Maidens fought from a goal down in the first half to draw parity in the closing stages, only to concede a cruel injury time goal to be knocked out of the fiesta.
How tearful that was for the young Ghanaian ladies who gave their all in the service of their country.
The results, by all accounts, may appear poetic justice for the Koreans, who suffered a 2-0 beating at the hands of the Maidens in the group stage of the last tournament in Costa Rica and which disenabled the Koreans from advancing beyond the preliminaries.
But, as we would like to repeat, our girls displayed the fighting spirit that every Ghanaian must be proud of after their opponents went ahead from the penalty spot.
That is why we would like to tell the players and officials not to feel let down by the loss but cheer up for their spirited performance and a battle well fought.
For us, it appeared rather unbelievable that they could go that far at the tournament after suffering a 5-0 thrashing by Japan, undoubtedly one of the pre-tournament favourites, in a group opener.
Rising from that shock defeat to post significant wins over the USA and Paraguay to ride into the quarter-finals must be no mean achievement by the Maidens.
It was a wonder where they got their motivation to even sail that height, when it was common knowledge that they had gone to the tournament without the requisite pecuniary resource.
This allegation has to date not been denied by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and it is a crying shame that the young girls and their officials were left to their fate like paupers and had to depend solely on FIFA’s largesse, while top officials of the ministry sat at home deceiving the populace they had dispatched the team’s financial needs.
We think it is necessary to investigate this matter to ascertain the truth behind this shabby treatment of the Maidens.
As we had recently indicated in this column, if the country is that broke as to make participation in international competitions unattractive, the Sports Ministry or the government should just be bold to withdraw our teams from those tournaments.
There is no need lamenting it, while our athletes are thrown into the field to suffer. The sad case of the Maidens is too cruel anywhere.