BY MUNTALLA INUSAH
A 13-MINUTE strike from Gladys Amfobea was all the Black Queens of Ghana needed to begin the 11th edition of the Total African Women Champions with a win.
Against a spirited Algerian side, the Ghana senior national female soccer team remained resolute and defended with pride, to keep the “Host and Win” agenda alive.
The two countries showed from the commencement of the game that they were in for business and thus wasted no chances at having a go at each other in the opening exchanges.
But it was the hosts who opened the scoring in the 13 minute when Amfobea capitalised on a lose ball to fire a thunderous strike from the outside of the penalty box into the net via the underside of the bar.
The Algerians back from recess, poured a lot of women forward, but their questions were all answered by the grit and resolute Ghanaian defence and the agility of goalkeeper Patricia Mantey particularly drew applause.
Soon after, Coach Bashiru Hayford’s side regrouped and accepted the challenges thrown at them by their counterparts and almost hit back immediately but most of the chances created were wasteful.
The introduction of Grace Ayeyem in the second half for Ghana brought some urgency in their attack and the Queens created numerous chances but all went abegging.
The pacy Ayeyem had a goal correctly ruled offside, with the experienced attacker’s celebration cut short with the lineswoman’s flag up.
The massive enthusiastic crowd at the national stadium, including the First Lady of Ghana, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo and the Second Lady, Mrs Samira Bawumia certainly helped the Ghanaian cause.
For the first time in four championship games, the Queens recorded a clean sheet following their resolute defence and the astute goalkeeping by Mantey.
However, the excellent Algerians who have scored a goal in each of their previous four AWCON tournaments, failed to score against Coach Hayford’s women.
Confidence is key for the Queens as they rally support from the home crowd in their games against Cameroun and Mali in the coming days.