Black Queens coach, Mercy Tagoe-Quarcoo, has admitted that her team are racing against time as they prepare to play Gabon in their opening qualifiers for the 2020 Olympic Games but believes they will be up to the task.
The Queens began camping last Tuesday for the second round of African qualifiers and will travel to Libreville for the first leg clash on August 26 and host the return encounter during the weekend of September 3.
Given the short time the Queens have to prepare for the encounter, having been inactive fora long tome, the coach is looking to rely mainly on the team that won bronze at the West Africa Football Union (WAFU) Cup in Abidjan last May.
From WAFU Cup squad, defender Janet Egyir will rejoin the team from her Iceland base, while midfielder Grace Asantewaa signed on by Spanish side, EDF Logrono Feminino, is also expected to join the team.
Additionally, Coach Mercy has requested for the services of three other foreign-based players – Portia Boakye, Alice Kusi and Priscilla Okyere, to strengthen her squad dominated by home-based players.
The coach explained to Graphic Sports Online that she settled on a few foreign-based players because she did not have the luxury of time to check on all her foreign legion. In addition, she felt it was not prudent to fly down many players as the European leagues were just about starting.
“The Olympic qualifying competition is just starting and we will need more of the players as we progress, but now, we are racing against time and we will have to start with the squad we worked with recently at the WAFU Cup,” she said in defence of her choice of players.
Players of the Black Queens at their Prampram camp
“We have to combine all the components of training or team preparation - physical, stamina, technical and tactic - within the limited time we have to prepare, and certainly we can’t try out every player.
Although they have played in the FIFA Women’s World Cup three times, the Queens have never qualified for the Olympics. The closest they came to qualifying was during the 2008 Beijing Games qualifiers where they finished second behind Nigeria and lost the one match play-off tie against Brazil in Beijing.
Having missed qualifying for this year’s World Cup, coupled with a disappointing performance at the 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, the Ghanaian ladies will be eager to claim the secured slot for Africa for the Tokyo competition.
The second slot will be determined by a play-off between the team that finish second in the five-round qualifying campaign and Chile, who also finished second in the qualifiers in South America.
The Queens squad for camping:
Goalkeepers: Fafali Dumehasi (Police Ladies), Barikisu Issahaku (Northern Ladies), Azume Adams (Prison Ladies), Abigail Tawiah Mensah (Elmina Sea Lions)
Defenders: Gladys Amfobea (LadyStrikers), Justice Tweneboaa (Ampem Darkoa Ladies), Ellen Coleman (LadyStrikers), Janet Nana Ama Egyir (Afturelding, Iceland), Rita Okyere (Prisons Ladies), Blessing Agbomadzi (Elmina Sea Lions), Philicity Asuako (Police Ladies), Anastasia Achiaa (Elmina Sea Lions), Leticia Adjei (Samaria Ladies), Vida Opoku (Police Ladies)
Midfielders: Grace Asantewaa (EDF Logrono Feminino), Joyce Antwiwa Fenteng (Ashtown Ladies), Linda Addai (Soccer Intellectuals), Ernestina Tetteh (Halifax ladies), Portia Boakye (Djugarden Eskilstuna), Grace Animah (Police Ladies), Cynthia Boakye Yiadom (Army Ladies), Priscilla Okyere (Rayo Vallecano, Spain), Evelyn Badu (Hasaacas Ladies), Juliet Acheampong (Prisons Ladies)
Forwards: Mukarama Abdulai (Northern Ladies) Mavis Owusu (Ampem Darkoa Ladies), Alice Kusi (Shabab Al- Ordon, Jordan), Elizabeth Owusuaa (Elmina Sea Lions), Milot Pokuaa (Hasaacas Ladies), Ophelia Serwaa Amponsah (Ampem Darkoaa Ladies)