CAF Women’s Champions League: Ampem Darkoa poised for semis victory
Ampem Darkoa Ladies are leaving nothing to chance as they take on Moroccan side, Sporting Casablanca, in the semi-final of the 2023 CAF Women’s Champions League today, November 15, 2023.
Inspired by history, the ‘Nanamma’ are determined to seize their moment to pick up a slot for the final of the continental competition.
Exuding confidence ahead of another big test, Coach Nana Joe Adarkwa told the Daily Graphic yesterday that they were aware of the magnitude of expectations back at home hence their resolve to take the bull by the horn and become the second Ghanaian side after local rivals Sekondi Hasaacas Ladies to reach the final in two years.
The Ghanaian champions made a strong statement as they defeated Huracanes FC 3-1 last Sunday to qualify for the semi-final. They started the tournament with a 2-1 win over the defending champions AS FAR Rabat but experienced a setback after losing 0-3 to Malian club AS Mande before bouncing back in style against Huracanes to finish as Group B winners.
Coach Adarkwa is determined not to let the opportunity of a lifetime slip by, and said his players were mentally prepared for the pressures that come with such high-stake encounters.
“We will attach all importance to this game because it is a knockout stage and every team wants to qualify for the final. We want to work hard for it so that we can make ourselves proud.
“Mentally, the girls are strong because they know what is at stake and they have psyched themselves up that once we are here, the ultimate goal is the trophy.”
He added that the team was not under pressure as he had encouraged them to relax and perform at the best of their abilities,” he said.
Additionally, he believed having gotten privy to and watched videos of their opponents it had enlightened the team of many lessons ahead of today’s game
“We have learnt a lot of lessons after our match against AS Mande and we have also picked up a few lessons from videos of our opponents so we shall prevail,” he said.
Despite expressing confidence to come out victorious in today’s game, Coach Adarkwa was equally worried about midfielder Linda Owusu-Ansah and star forward Mary Amponsah, who would be missing in action due to suspension and injury, respectively.
Linda picked up two yellow cards in previous matches, while Mary suffered an injury in the Black Queens camp during their Olympic Games qualifiers against Rwanda last month.
“Linda Owusu Ansah’s case will be a worry but the most worrying issue is Mary Amponsah who has not been impactful in this competition because of an injury she suffered in the Black Queens camp. It is worrying that a player like Mary Amponsah is not in the team but all the same, we shall play and win,” he said.
Other semi-final clash
In the other semi-final match, two experienced sides Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies and AS FAR will lock horns in a game best described as a "clash of titans.”
While Sundowns won the maiden edition of the competition in 2021, AS FAR are the current holders of the trophy.
Interestingly, Sundowns are the only team yet to taste defeat in the group stages of the competition since the inaugural edition in 2021.
Sundowns finished top of Group A with a 100 per cent win record over JTK Queens (2-0), Sporting Casablanca (1-0) and tournament hosts, Athletico Abidjan (3-0).
On the other hand, AS FAR had a difficult start this season losing 2-1 to Ampem Darkoa Ladies, beat Huracanes 1-0 and defeated AS Mande 2-0 to pick up a slot in the semi-finals.
Both teams are aiming for a second continental title, setting up what promises to be an action packed encounter in Korhogo on Wednesday evening.