The Black Queens of Ghana have their destiny in their own hands as they seek to overturn a 2-0 away defeat in the hands of “everlasting rivals”, Super Falcons of Nigeria in the 2022 TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers this weekend.
Coach Mercy Tagoe-Quarcoo’s ladies must go at it hammer and tongs to overcome the reining African champions in the return leg at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday, October 24. Failure to record a win, will mean the Queens will succumb to a second-ever absence from the continental showpiece, after failing to qualify for the 2012 edition of the competition staged in Equatorial Guinea.
Despite putting up a brilliant performance in the first leg in Nigeria on Wednesday, Ghana failed to score against their rivals who dominated the game in the first 15 minutes. The Ghanaians threatened the hosts before the break through Grace Asantewaa and Princella Adubea but could not break the solid defense marshalled by Onome Ebi and Osinachi Ohale plus some goalkeeping brilliance from Chiamaka Nnadozie.
Dominance of the Super Falcons
For the Reigning African champions, it was a perfect bounce back from September’s Aisha Buhari Cup loss to South Africa. A brace from Sweden-based striker, Uchenna Kanu, in the first half of the game at the Mobolaji Johnson Stadium, Onikan, was enough for the host to extend its dominance over the visitors.
Black Queens head coach Mercy Tagoe was however, proud of her players despite the 2-0 defeat to Nigeria.
“So far so good, I think we played well, tactically we were very disciplined, and we came to play football. Unfortunately, the Nigerians were stronger and tougher than we were, but when it comes to intelligence, we were far way ahead of them.
“When you are playing an away game, it’s not easy. So, we are going back to the drawing board to correct our mistakes”.Mercy Tagoe
With a first-leg advantage, Nigeria recorded its 11th win over their West African rivals in 18 meetings and will aim to consolidate the home lead to progress to the next round of the qualifiers.
Reports say the gates will be opened for free for fans who will like to attend the African Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifying encounter. This is expected to boost the morale of the team to win the crucial game on Sunday.
The Queens, who have never won the AWCON, find themselves in a very difficult situation as they have no option than to win with at least a three-goal margin to progress to the next stage. A 2-0 win for the Queens will push the game into penalties to decide the winner. However, a draw will hand the ticket to the Falcons who have won the tournament nine times and are currently the defending champions.
The 2023 Women’s World Cup qualification
The winner of the high-profile doubleheader after the Accra second leg showdown will set up a second-round date with either Niger or Cote d’Ivoire.
This tough game is one of the 22 first round games to decide the 11 teams to compete in the 12th AWCON to be staged in Morocco next year. That tournament will also be used to select Africa’s representatives to the 2023 Women’s World Cup (WWC) to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
The last time the Black Queens appeared at the WWC was in 2007, after making their first ever appearance in 1999. In all, the Queens, just like their male counterparts, the Black Stars of Ghana, have made 3 World Cup appearances -1999, 2003, and 2007. In 2018, Ghana hosted the AWCON but the Queens put up a very poor performance in the tournament, exiting at the group stages.