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Soccer News of Thursday, 23 January 2014

Source: Graphic Online

Princesses poised to see Canada

Ghana’s Under-20 female football team, the Black Princesses’ dream of being in the line-up for the 2014 Women’s World Cup in Canada hangs on a dicey thread, unless they are able to take care of Equatorial Guinea this weekend.

At the Ohene Djan Stadium on Sunday, the Princesses must overturn a 0-1 loss they suffered in Malabo a fortnight ago to edge out their guests in the final leg of the qualifying campaign, a task that looks so simple yet very tricky.

Two weeks ago in Malabo, the Princesses were unimpressive playing with a midfield that seemed clueless in handling the Equatorial Guineans, who scored a 38th minute goal to win the first leg and momentarily dampen the hopes of the Ghanaians of going to Canada.

Offered the opportunity to make amends in the second and final leg in Accra, the Princesses have made their intentions clear about qualifying for Canada at all cost and have thus gone into intensive training since returning from Malabo.

Coach Bashir Hayford, as one of the urgent solutions to his problems, have tried out new players thus, strongly sending the message home that no one’s place is secured in the team even at this stage.

While that may be a good signal, it would not be enough as he has to get his team to play cohesively and also to tactical instructions.

Watching the team in some of their trial matches, they are not that convincing and will have to play above themselves if they are to get the better of an Equatorial Guinean side, who are determined not to lose a second World Cup slot to Ghana after their Under-17 side were eliminated by Ghana’s Black Maidens.

Also, Coach Hayford will have to push his strikers to bang in the goals as they have struggled to score even in their trial matches.

With these obvious challenges, Coach Hayford insists the technical team has worked hard on the players and come Sunday, they will put all worried hearts to rest.

“We all saw the problems with the team when we went to Malabo. We’ve worked thoroughly on them and I assure everyone on Sunday that by the end of the 90 minutes, we would claim the ticket for Canada.

“We understand how people feel but this is a team that played their real competition in that match. And there were other challenges when we went to Malabo, but in Accra it will be a different game. We are determined to go to Canada and won’t allow Equatorial Guinea to stand in our way,” Coach Hayford told the Graphic Sports.

To keep his team and possible game plan away from the preying eyes of the media and other observers, the Princesses have pitched their camp in Obuasi this week and will return to Accra tomorrow to round up their preparation for Sunday’s crucial encounter.

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