On 17 November 2018, Ghana’s Black Queens will strive to make history when they come face to face with their Algerian counterparts in the opening match of the Total African Women’s Championship to be hosted in Accra and Cape Coast.
The Queens competed in the inaugural edition in 1998 edition hosted in Nigeria, lost to the latter in the final.
In the South Africa 2000 edition, the Ghanaians finished third. Nigeria again hosted the tournament in 2002 and the Queens were runners up. The Black Queens will finish third two years later in South Africa 2004 but performed better in Nigeria 2006 where they were runners up again.
The Queens weren’t competitive enough in the 2008 and 2010 tournaments as they were kicked out in the group stages in Equatorial Guinea and South Africa respectively.
Having missed out in Equatorial Guinea 2012, the first time they failed to qualify for the final tournament, the Queens qualified for the next tournament in Namibia 2014 where they exited in the group stage but the team put up a good performance at the last edition in Cameroon where they won bronze.
However, the team has evolved with some new faces are brimming with confidence following victories in current friendly matches engaged in the country over.
By virtue of being hosts, the Ghanaians did not take part in any of the qualifiers. Ghana has been drawn in Group A with Algeria, Mali and Cameroon whiles in Group B, the most successful country and cup holders Nigeria will be in the same group with South Africa, Equatorial Guinea and Zambia.
Ghana as a host nation has a lot to do in terms of preparation and electing the best players to represent the county. For the first time in the history of women’s football in Ghana, the Queens embarked on regional tour to prepare the team against the other teams coming from the continent.
So far, they have engaged in two friendlies to gauge their readiness; against Zambia (losing 3-2) and Kenya (1-1) to gauge to their readiness. Back from Kenya, the Queens were held to a 1-1 draw by South Africa in the final test match on Sunday in Accra.
“There are no automatic places for any member of the team. We are preparing a team that we believe is capable of winning the tournament, and we will not dwell on past glory. What we see in training is what will inform our decision for the first team. Every player is fighting for her position, whether you play in Ghana or outside the country”, assistant head coach Mercy Tagoe Quarcoo mentioned in an interview.
The Ghanaian team, a blend of youth and experience, has the hopes of an entire nation resting on their shoulders in their quest to win the title for the first time, and also qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time since 2007.