Ghana's Black Queens gave Ghanaians a teaser of what they should expect in the 2018 TOTAL Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) when they beat South Africa 1-0 in a friendly at the Accra Sports Stadium yesterday.
The victory has boosted the confidence of the Ghanaian ladies who lost 3-2 against Kenya and drew 1-1 with Zambia last week as part of their warm up matches ahead of the AFCON tournament.
Samira Suleman scored the only goal in the 22nd minute when she headed home the ball after Elizabeth Addo had sent a cross from the wings.
A few minutes later, the Queens, who appeared an improved side, pushed for another goal but Elizabeth’s strike from the opponent’s 18-yard box narrowly missed the post and attracted loud cheers from the sizable crowd in the stands.
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The Queens impressively controlled all the departments of the game as the combination of Linda Eshun, Faustina Ampah and Portia Boakye at the rear became a nightmare for the opponents’ strikers.
Unlike their two previous friendly games against Zambia and Kenya, the Ghanaians put up an improved performance much to the delight of the spectators and the National Supporters Union, who were on their feet chanting victory songs throughout the game played under flood lights.
In the 34th minute, Elizabeth Addo made another move after she chanced upon a superb pass from Priscilla Okyere from the midfield to fire past the helpless Bayana Bayana Defenders but her effort went over the bar.
The South Africans were gifted with a few chances as captain Janine Van Wyk, Thembi Kgattana and Amanda Mthandi threatened the goalmouth of the Queens a couple of times but goalkeeper Fafali Dumehasi made some significant saves to deny them scoring opportunity until referee Delight Alorbu whistled to bring the first half to a close.
From recess, the South Africans, who appeared rejuvenated, matched the Queens boot for boot and made a few attempts at goal but could not find the back of the net due to poor finishing.
Thembi, who wasted a number of chances in each half, almost cancelled the deficit for the Banyana Banyana during a goal mouth melee in the 55th minute but her tap went straight into the hands of goalkeeper Dumehasi.
Coach Bashir Hayford changed his tactics when he substituted Priscilla Okyere, Samira Suleman and Sherifatu Sumaila for Grace Asantewa, Jane Ayieyam and Alice Kusi respectively which changed the dynamics of the game.
In the 65th minute, Referee Alorbu awarded a free kick to the Queens when Elizabeth was brought down in the opponents 18 box.
The South Africans also made some changes and from there on both sides pushed for goals but their efforts did not yield the needed results before the game ended.
The match was watched by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Isaac Asiamah, and his deputy, Perry Okudzeto, as well as FIFA Normalisation Committee member, Naa Odofoley Nortey, and some members of the Local Organising Committee.