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Sports News of Sunday, 25 November 2018


Grace Animah makes an arresting impression on U-17 World Cup

To be or not to be -- those were the questions Grace Animah had to answer at a young age. If she wanted to represent the red, yellow and green with black star flag or be a protector of law and order in her native Ghana. The fast, pacy winger chose the former.

The 163cm midfielder who has been marshalling the left wing for the Black Maidens at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, started playing football in the Eastern region before moving to the capital city Accra to continue her education and also establish a foundation for her football career.

While schooling at Commonwealth College, she started playing for the National Women’s league side Samaria Ladies before she caught the eyes of the technical handlers of Police Ladies Football Club.

With the aim of making the squad for Uruguay where Ghana face New Zealand in the quarter-finals, she has had to work extra hard at her club to be acknowledged by coach Evans Adotey.

She told AIPS: “I have worked very hard since last year because I was determined to feature for Ghana in this year’s tournament in Uruguay”.

This one goal has been scratched off her bucket list.

Animah’s expectations are far from achieved. She sees her idols, Barcelona playmaker Lionel Messi and Brazil’s Marta, still working hard to achieve greater heights and so this is just a first step.

She said: “I have always been inspired by Messi after watching him play in the Champions League and Marta play for the Brazilian female team.”

Like many female players in Ghana, she is also happy to walk in the shoes of former Black Queens captain Adjoa Bayor.

The budding star has shown prowess of a player to watch in the tournament with her skill works and speed and she collected one player of the match award when Ghana won 2-0 against the Kiwis of New Zealand.

With the Ghana league suspended the players have been looking forward to a date when the green light will be given for a restart or to obtaining a contract outside the country.

Animah said: “I want to play for Chelsea Ladies or Arsenal Ladies.”

For her, dreams do come true because as a child she had to choose between being a footballer or a police officer. Now she can achieve do both if she stays with Police Ladies because national team players such as Nana Ama Asantewaa, Fafali Dumehasi and Jane Ayieyam are all serving officers as well.

In the group stage the Black Maidens won all three matches for the first time. After every match they celebrate by singing and dancing. But an absent image is of Animah dancing or singing because she is a shy girl. Maybe she is the Ngolo Kante for the Black Maidens in terms of celebrations.