Despite firmly securing a place in the quarter-finals of the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup, the coach of Ghana’s Black Maidens insists there is no stopping the team now as they head into the final group match and ahead of the knockout stages
Though both Ghana and New Zealand have qualified for the quarter-finals from Group A, there is still a lot to play for as the final positions are yet to be decided.
With both on six points from two games, the Maidens lead with their seven goals aggregate and a draw in tomorrow’s final game will be good enough to keep them at the top. On the other hand, a win for New Zealand will see them overtake Ghana at the top.
Coach Evans Adotey, knowing the permutations, says that they are not taking chances and will go all out as they have done in their previous matches.
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“We are in Uruguay with a mission. To win and qualify from our group to the quarter-finals first. We are almost there and on Tuesday, we will complete that assignment.
“We have six points now, but the target is to pick all the maximum points and that will be the next mission on Tuesday,” said Adotey, who seems satisfied with the performance of his girls so far.
Indeed, the Maidens have played some scintillating football and also have the goals to show for their good show. However, against the New Zealanders, they may find their toughest encounter yet as the Oceania team know they have a good chance of making it past the group stage for the first time.
With Fuseina Mumuni still unfit from the injury she picked from the first goal, and the replacement, Milot Abena Pokuaa delivering against Finland, Coach Adotey is likely to stick to his starting line up and also believes captain Mukarama Abdulai, remains the player to watch in the game.
“Of course, every player here is qualified and has her own qualities and so we pick them based on the game plan for the match. The last time you asked me, I told you I was sure Mukarama would be my first pick for the lineup. That has not changed,” Coach Adotey said as he evaded the question about how his starting line up would look like.
Irrespective of what happens in the game, the Maidens have passed the group stage test and will have their quarter-finals opponents in mind as they play the final group game.
However, Coach Adotey maintains that their focus will be on a game at a time and will only worry about the quarter-finals after tomorrow.
“It is early to determine who we will play in the quarter-finals. It could be Japan or Mexico. Their final games will determine that. Of course, we are keeping an eye on the teams that we are likely to play, but really our focus is on Tuesday’s game as we need to complete that phase of our mission before moving on,” insists the Ghana coach Adotey, the most experienced coach at the tournament with three successive FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup appearances.