Black Queens edge closer to Olympic glory
Black Queens coach, Nora Hauptle, is confident her charges will maintain their winning form when they play their Benin counterparts at the Accra Stadium on Tuesday, October 31, 2023, in the second leg of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games qualifiers.
The Ghanaians earned a massive advantage in the first leg encounter with a 3-0 victory at Stade de L’amitie in Benin last Friday through goals by Doris Boaduwaa and Gifty Assifuah (brace).
Despite meeting a formidable Benin side with a tough defence, the Black Queens laboured until the 44th minute before Boaduwaa opened the scoring through a spot kick before Assifuah stole the show with two great strikes in the second half.
Although admitting that the first leg was tough and draining, the Swiss gaffer was sure that her side would get back into shape after a few training sessions in Accra to put smiles on the faces of Ghanaians in the return leg.
"We won this game 3-0 which was very intense for the players and also for us the staff. Benin was expecting a strong opponent and they created some challenges because they are a very good defending team, very good squeeze and compact in the block but I think we operated very focused with very good control of the game,” Coach Hauptle said after the match in Cotonou.
“We had a good mixture between playing constructive, but also releasing some long balls and in the meantime we were able to score by penalty. We lost a lot of energy on the pitch and now it is about good recuperation so we fly back to Ghana to make sure we are back in shape in front of our home crowd and we give 150 per cent again," she added.
Coach Nora will have the full complement of her top players for selection, including strikers Boaduwaa, two-goal heroine, Assifuah, Princella Adubea, Mary Amponsah and Philomena.
Abakah for the attacking job, with support from midfielders, Grace Asantewaa, Evelyn Badu, Jennifer Cudjoe and Azumah Bugre.
Returnee defender, Blessing Shine Agbomadzi, will join forces with Portia Boakye and Janet Egyir in defence while agile goalkeeper Cynthia Konlan Findiib, who has proven to be a strong force in the post for some time now, will do what she knows how to do best in the post.
Young talents such as Stella Nyamekye, Adama Alhassan, Safiatu Salifu and Kerrie McCarthy will all be available to ensure that the target is achieved, as well as improve upon their record eight-match winning streak under the guidance of Hauptle.
The Black Queens, who began the 2024 Olympic qualifiers on a flying note with a 12-0 aggregate thumping of Rwanda in September, are favourites to reach the penultimate round of the Olympic qualifiers where they will play against Zambia.