After weeks of training and drills, Coach Bashir Hayford will get to know if his Black Queens are battle ready for continental honours as they face two crucial tests within four days in their build-up towards the 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations to be staged in Ghana later this month.
A day after naming his provisional squad for the tournament, Coach Hayford whisked his team away to Zambia to play the She-poloplo tomorrow (Saturday) in the first of a number of international friendlies lined up for the Queens.
Later, the team will travel to Kenya for another friendly against the national side, Harambee Starlets on November 7.
The two matches are considered very important tests for Coach Hayford’s side because it is the first time they would be put to a stern test and possibly pushed to the wall to test their resilience.
The 28 players named in the provisional squad boast individual talent, skill and experience, but the Zambia and Kenya friendlies provide the coach the best chance to assess his players ahead of the November 17 to December 1 tourney in Ghana.
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While the coach may not have difficulties with his first choice goalie among the final three shot-stoppers of Patricia Mantey, Nana Ama Asantewaa and Fafali Dumehasi, he will be eager to see what defenders qualities his defenders bring to the job and how best to line them up.
Janet Egyir, Faustina Ampah and Philicity Asuako look solid in their central defence roles, just as Linda Eshun and Gladys Amfobea in their lateral defence roles.
Other players such as Grace Asantewaa, Juliet Acheampong, Priscilla Okyere, Elizabeth Addo, Sherifatu Sumaila, Portia Boakye, Alice Kusi, Sandra Owusu-Ansah, Samira Suleman, Jane Ayieyam,
Leticia Zikpi, Lily Niber-Lawrence, Rita Okyere, Diana Wiege and Veronica Darkwa have experience and will be competing to catch the eye of the technical handlers for a place in the final squad.
Coach Hayford told The Mirror in an interview that he was as interested in the performance of the team as he was in the results in the friendlies, and would, thus, be looking forward to morale-boosting performances against Zambia and Kenya.
This is the first time Ghana and Zambia will be playing each other at this level and both will be cautious not to give out too much about the squad.
The two can only clash at the semi-finals of the tournament if they advance past the group stages.
However on Saturday, the two sides will be preoccupied with assessing battle readiness, as well as departments in their teams for further strengthening ahead of the Women’s AFCON which kicks off in Accra on November 17.