Black Princesses finish final hurdle in style to qualify for 2022 U20 Women’s World Cup

God bless our homeland Ghana and the Princesses who have fought so valiantly to secure their place at the 2022 U-20 Women’s World cup, which will be held in Costa Rica in August.

Black Princesses finish final hurdle in style to qualify for 2022 U20 Women’s World Cup

It was an arduous journey for the Princesses but one they surmounted with hard work and a relentless mindset. The task at hand now is to outdo their predecessors by qualifying to the knockout stages of the World Cup.

After Mauritius pulled out of the competition in the second round of the qualifiers, Ghana was handed a walkover to the third round. They played against the Zambians in that round, where they were presented with a tough challenge.

The Zambians were clever in attack and gave the Princesses a run for their money. Evelyn Badu proved to be the marquee player in this tie when she scored the only goal against Zambia to qualify Ghana to the third round of the qualifiers.

The fourth round of the tournament was a goal-fest as the Princesses massacred the Cranes of Uganda at their own backyard and finished the job at the Accra sports stadium.

They tore to shreds any dignity left in the Ugandans after the 7-1 drubbing.

The journey didn’t end there. Their next challenge flew them to one of the historical countries in Africa. The Abebe Bikila Stadium is where the Princesses locked horns with the Ethiopians. This was the first time the Ethiopians were playing in the qualifiers.

To be fair, they had nothing to lose but all to play for, considering how young their squad was. The Princesses kept a cool head and mauled them by three goals to nothing at their own backyard. Salamatu Abdulai once again displayed her lethal striking prowess after netting a brace. Cecilia Nyama of Ridge City FC added the icing on the cake to triple Ghana’s advantage.

The final hurdle looked done and dusted but the only obstacle facing the Queens was the return leg at the Accra Sports Stadium.

Four minutes after the game commenced, the star of the Princesses, Salamatu netted the first goal. The Ethiopians tapped into their resilience to cancel the deficit but all efforts failed particularly because of the defensive wall the Princesses put up.

Cecilia Nyama teed up a crisp through pass to Salamatu Abdulai and she tormented the Ethiopian defence with another well-struck goal.

Ethiopia knew if they continued letting their guard down, the Black Princesses would annihilate them. They got their acts together and got cooking.

Their ball retention and tactical approach paid off after they halved the deficit through a set-piece. This goal rejuvenated them and they continued launching lethal attacks from an intricately woven build-up from the back. The defensive duo of Louisa Aniwaa and Opoku Abena Anoma kept their feet down to keep the lethal duo of Mesay and Turist at bay.

Captain of the Ethiopian side, Nardos darted down the right flank and launched an inch-perfect low cross into the yard of the Princesses. Turist got to the end of it and hit it past Cynthia Konlan to equalise. However, their bubbles burst after the goal was ruled out for offside. The Ethiopians netted another goal and another offside call didn’t make it count.

Ghana looked sluggish and struggled to create chances upfront the rest of the half.

After the break, both sides sniffed their noses at goal but couldn’t bag it. The Ethiopians got a glorious chance but couldn’t bury it as the ball went wide. Azumah Bugre tried two long-range shots at goal and missed by some inches.

Ophelia Serwaa Amposah of Ampem Darkoa Ladies FC almost increased Ghana’s lead with a skillful scissor kick but the Ethiopian goalkeeper kept it under control.

Four minutes from full-time, Cynthia made a clumsy tackle on an Ethiopian striker who was on a solo run towards goal. The referee was quick to show her the red card and bring her time on the pitch to an end.

Grace Banwa of Hasaacas Ladies came on and made three key saves to help Ghana secure their ticket to Costa Rica. The game ended 5-1 on aggregate in favour of the Black Princesses following their impressive first-leg win.

Ghana will join its West African neighbours, Nigeria as the two representatives of Africa in the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup from August 2 to August 23. The competition is a biennial tournament that started back in 2002.

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