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Sports Features of Thursday, 15 November 2018

Source: footballmadeinghana.com

2018 AWCON: Is this the best time for Queens to achieve the Holy Grail?

The Black Queens of Ghana are a regular fixture in the Africa Women Cup of Nations with 12 appearances made in the flagship Women’s competition on the continent but the Ghanaians have never won it.

This will be the 13th participation of the Black Queens in the competition and they face Algeria in the opening match of the 2018 edition on Saturday in Accra and have a date against Mali three days later before doing a big battle against Cameroon to end the first round.

But can they lift the trophy for the first time?

The team then managed by Yusif Basigi reached the semifinals of the last edition held in Cameroon but were beaten 1-0 by the hosts and had to settle for the Third place position after beating South Africa by 1-0.

Not even the ultra-talented side of Alberta Sackey and Adjoa Bayor could become African champions but with Ghana hosting the tournament for the first time Ghanaians will be asking for the trophy to remain in the country.

And if they are able to achieve this holy grail they would put themselves above their male counterparts of 2008 who failed to do the host and win more than a decade ago when this country hosted the 2008 African Cup of Nations – won by Egypt.

Black Queens AWCON participations: 1991, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016

Best result: 2nd (2006, 2002, 1998)

Ghana group matches

November 17, Ghana – Algeria, Accra Stadium

November 20, Ghana – Mali, Accra Stadium

November 23, Cameroon – Ghana, Accra Stadium

The star player

Born in 1995, Priscilla Okyere is the star of Ghana’s women’s team. Very good football player, she plays with Spartak Subotica in Serbia and She will be eagerly expected to inspire Bashir Hayford’s team to success on home soil.

In August 2018 she won the UnitedIFF tournament in Spain with her club Spartak Subotica.

Okyere joined her teammates in camp in Nairobi on November 5 and is one of the key materials Hayford will be relying on if he is to win the tournament.

Luck

To play the final of the AWCON three times and end up losing on each occasion is to say that luck has not smiled at the Queens but will the Ghanaian team be even lucky enough this time to reach the grande finale?

On the other hand is Nigeria who have played and won ten AWCON finals. Never ever beaten when the trophy is placed forward.

Hayford has at his exposure a talented and experienced group of players majority of who won Gold at the All Africa Games three years ago in Brazzaville and went on to win a regional WAFU tournament in the Ivory Coast in March 2018.

Of course quality wins championships but luck is an essential part of football and that is exactly what this current team will need to make history on home soil but we know the Nigerians, especially, will be a formidable obstacle.