Ghana will miss out on the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup for the first time after losing a ticket to the India 2022 tournament to Morocco last Saturday due to some underhand dealings.
The Black Maidens went into the tie with a 2-0 advantage from the first leg played in Accra two weeks ago but could not hold on to the lead as the return leg ended 2-0 in regulation time at the El Hassan Complex in Rabat for a 2-2 aggregate scoreline to throw the tie into a penalty shootout which the hosts won 4-2 to advance to the World Cup.
Coach Baba Nuhu’s side was forced to field a weakened side after the entire backline, including goalkeeper Deborah Brown and defenders Rose Boakyewaa, Magdalene Awuni and Faizast Abdallah were forced to sit out of the match after returning positive tests for COVID-19.
The Maidens were subjected to a number of unsporting treatment by the hosts, from no mandatory training at the match venue, to gender check-up and a frivolous move to weaken the team by wiping out the entire backline following a COVID-19 whose outcome looked doubtful.
The Ghanaian delegation protested to the Match Commissioner but it was too little to change the situation as the game went ahead as scheduled.
Morocco started the game fiercely in search of an early goal to unsettle the Maidens as they fetched the opening goal through Fatima El Ghazouani in the 15th minute.
The Lionels missed the chance to take a 2-0 lead as they failed to take advantage of a spot kick in the 42 minute of the game.
Two minutes after recess, Morocco increased the tally after being gifted a goal through an error by second choice goalkeeper Afi Amenyeku when she failed to deal with Samya Mansouani’s long range effort.
Ghana played brilliantly from then on and had a penalty appeal ignored by Mauritanian referee Aisaat Amadou who waved play on to the astonishment of the Maidens and their bench.
Morocco kept pushing for the third goal but the Maidens held on as they dragged the game into a shootout after a 2-2 aggregate score.
Ghana missed two kicks against one by the Moroccans to hand the North Africans a 4-2 win on penalties to book a place at the FIFA World Cup in India – becoming the first North African side to qualify for the competition.
For the Maidens, it will be the first time they will miss the U-17 World Cup since its inception in 2008.