One of the pioneers of women’s football in Ghana, Madam Sophia Okuley, last Sunday turned 80 years and she celebrated the anniversary with a party attended by most of the players she nurtured.
Joined by her family friends and women’s football family, Ms Okuley began the celebrations with a thanksgiving service presided over by Rev Father Nyan at the Anglican Church of Transfiguration at Haatso, in Accra and later a party.
As many players of the 1999 Black Queens squad who made their debut at the Women’s World Cup , turned up. They included Adjoa Bayor, Genevieve Clottey, Mercy Tagoe, Faustina Doyi, Gifty Lartey, Helina Wilson and Mavis Addae.
Others were Gifty Asare, Victoria Teye, Sera Adotey Pappoe, Grace Lamptey and Gladys Akapko.
Some of important dignitaries, who happened to be pioneers of women 's soccer in the country and who also attended the event, included Mr Oteng Aboagye, former National Sports Council officer and deputy secretary general of the GFA, who formed the Black Queens team in the 90's, Miss Mariam Buckman, former Black
Queens' welfare officer, Coach Michael Quarcoopome, Mr. S.B.Donkor, member of the Women's League Board and Miss Leanier Addy, Executive Committee member of the GFA
Madam Okuley biography speaks volumes. She was as an educationist, and was also involved in the activities of the National Sports Council and served on many of its committees before championing women's football.
She became the chairperson for the Greater Accra Women's Soccer Committee and also the vice-chairperson of the National Women's Soccer Development Committee between 1991 and 2001.
It was during her tenure that Ghana managed to raise a formidable women's team, the Black Queens, to qualify for the first time for the Women’s World Cup in the USA in 1999.