Even though Ghana falls behind the USA with regards to organized Women’s Football, it took Sidney Leroux’s somewhat offside goal to cancel Elizabeth Cudjoe’s world-class strike which put Ghana ahead by the 10th minute in their Group D opening game today.
The game could have gone either way, but he Americans had the better of the exchanges. At some point I kept wondering if this is the same Dynamic Damsels and Black Maidens I have known for some six now?
If you ask me, I will say the Princesses were uncoordinated and unproductive today. They could have done much better. As if losing possession easily was not bad enough, for one reason or the other, they chose to balloon the ball in any direction when they had it. This gave the Americans the opportunity to build up and pour torrents of attack on the defence of Ghana.
Kuku Dadzie may be in the run for Ghana’s best defender of all time and is perhaps tempted to build a defensive team out of what used to be a free-scoring side. But, he ought to be reminded that tournament football is not only about defending. Our Black Princesses have always been a free-scoring side and the least he can do is to coach them to maintain their scoring touch. One could catch glimpses of how dangerous some of the girls can be in front of goal.
The team simply displayed too much weakness today. However, as this happens to be the first game, one can only hope that Kuku will work on the team’s weaknesses, especially ball possession, team stamina and scoring.
Speaking of weaknesses, I cannot help but ask whether Edem Atovor is the same Edem I have known for close to five years. The first day I saw Edem Atovor play, I could have sworn that I had seen Gael Clichy, Patrice Evra and Eric Abidal put in one teenager. But the Edem I saw today seemed to have traded her characteristic stamina for a pound or two of flesh.
She was lethargic to say the least. She lost the ball anytime was passed to her. She was either nowhere near lateral defensive position or was always left for pace by the USA wingers. With such poor fitness, I am wondering how she made the team. If she is not going to contribute positively to the team, then she should be dropped before it is too late.
But it was not all negative for the Black Princesses. The quality of Florence Dadson, Elizabeth Addo and Patricia Mantey was clear today. During this tournament, just as in any tournament, there will come a time when teams will be separated by one magic moment of individual brilliance. When such a time comes, I have no doubt that one of these girls will show up.
Again, there were moments in this Ghana 1-1 USA game when the Princesses demonstrated their ability to string passes together, split and run at defences. This gives me the hope that they are not going down easily in this tournament.
So with a six points to glean from Switzerland and Korea Republic, all of Ghana is hopeful that Captain Mercy Myles will get fit faster to solidify Ghana’s midfield. Then, if Kuku Dadzie fixes the left back position and sharpens the attack, all of Ghana can rest assured that Ghana will be on her way to dominate Women’s U-20 as we did with the Men’s U-20.
The Black Princesses have what it takes to win this tournament. Hopefully, someone will let them know and believe this self-evident truth.