Sports News of Monday, 31 December 2012
The year 2012 will go down as one with mixed fortunes for Ghana football with several ups and downs locally, continentally and globally.
It was laced with several high-points and low moments with the Black Maidens, Berekum Chelsea and Black Stars stealing the catchphrases.
Early in the year, expectations were high of the Black Stars to break the 30-year drought at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, which the former disappointingly settled for fourth place.
Striker Asamoah Gyan, turned villain for his penalty miss against eventual winners, Zambia, in the semi final meeting whilst head Coach, Goran Stevanovic, paid the biggest price, losing his job for that fiasco.
The Stars, however made amends with a double over Malawi in the two-legged qualifier for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations under new coach, Kwasi Appiah.
For the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the team launched the campaign on an impressive note whipping Lesotho 7-0 in the infamous game at the Baba Yara Stadium, that witnessed a near hour hold-up due to power failure.
The Stars next step was in Ndola, where Zambia affirmed their superiority with a lone goal victory before being rewarded yet another three points after Sudan fielded an unqualified player in an earlier meeting, a decision which has left the four-time African champions’ hope of a third successive appearance at the Mundial in a fix.
There was double delight for the Black Starlets and Black Satellites, who both sealed their places at the next year’s African Championship in Morocco and Algeria respectively.
Women’s football was among the biggest beneficiaries during the under review but that record was blighted by the inability of the Black Queens to qualify for the African Women’s Championship in Equatorial Guinea.
The low feat by the Queens, ranked amongst the baobabs of the women’s game saw them miss out on the continental championship for the first time since its inception in 1998.
The Black Princesses yet again stormed out of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan at the first stage, winless and failing to score.
It took their juniors, Black Maidens to lift high the flag of Ghana and Africa at large with a bronze placing at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan. The historic achievement, the first by an African team at cadet championship came with a continental recognition, being nominated for the Women’s National Team of the Year alongside Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria U-20 team.
The much awaited national Women’s League also kicked off with 12 clubs grouped into two zones of six teams each.
The Southern Zone is made up of Cape Coast Ghatel Ladies, Soccer Intellectuals, Hasaacas Ladies, Ayoola Ladies, Immigration Ladies and Volta Amalga Ladies; whilst Bolga Ghatel Ladies, Reformers, Lepo Ladies, Ampim-Darkoa Ladies, Fabulous Ladies and Ashtown Ladies constitute the Northern Zone.
For club football, Asante Kotoko wrapped up the 2011/2012 league title finishing 14-points clear and also added the Super Cup to their collection, beating FA Cup winners Edubiase in the one-off match.
Berekum Chelsea made a grand debut appearance in the CAF Champions League, brushing past old guards including Raja Casablanca of Morocco and Coton Sport Garoua of Cameroon to reach the group phase.
At the group phase, they rubbed shoulders with giants such as Egyptian duo, Ahly and Zamalek and Congolese champions, TP Mazembe; but missed out narrowly on a place at the last four finishing behind Ahly amd Mazembe. Leading marksman, Emmanuel Clottey was top scorer with 12 goals and has since joined Tunisian giants, Esperance.