Ghana’s senior female football team, the Black Queens have received a boost with the arrival of deputy captain, Portia Boakye, for their must-win Olympic qualifier against Kenya in Kasarani, Kenya, later today.
The Queens blew their chance of a first-leg win with a goalless draw in their third round Olympic qualifier for the 2020 Games in Tokyo and will now have to present their best to win against the Harambee Starlets in their home.
Coach Mercy Tagoe-Quarcoo had invited some experienced players for this tie, but Boakye and Sherifatu Sumaila who were invited could not honour the invitation as they did not receive their air tickets on time.
After sitting through the first leg at the Accra Stadium last Friday, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Isaac Kwame Asiamah, asked that the tickets be provided for Boakye who plays for Sweden’s Djurgårdens to join the team for the second leg.
Unfortunately, club commitments will not permit Mallbackens IF’s Sumaila to travel with the team while it is unclear if Assi IF’s Ernestina Abambila who featured briefly for the Queens in the first leg will be in the coach’s plan for the second leg.
The players were invited but Boakye and Sumaila could not fly down as they did not receive their tickets, initially with excuse that the Ministry’s account had been frozen so there was no money, compelling Abambila to buy her own ticket to fly down last Wednesday.
The other two, the Graphic Sports gathered, had the information late and could not, therefore, purchase the tickets.
Captain Elizabeth Addo has not availed herself for Queens duty
It is also learnt that captain of the team, Elizabeth Addo, who plays for Chinese club Jiangsu Suning FC, is in town but is yet to report to camp with the excuse that she has not been invited.
Coach Tagoe Quarcoo, however, said as captain of the team, it was her responsibility to inform the team of her availability as she had declined previous invitations with the excuse of needing time to settle in her new club.
The Ghana coach admits her side have to go all out, while keeping their eyes on their defence to ensure when they line up at the Moi International Stadium at Kasarani on October 8, mindful of the impressive comeback record of the Harambee Starlets of Kenya and they are wary of that threat as they host the first leg.
In advancing to the third round, the Kenyans recovered from a 2-3 loss to Malawi to win 3-0 in the second leg at home and they will be seeking to achieve a similar feat against Ghana as they both vie to progress in the qualifying campaign that will ultimately select one side to represent the continent at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Coach Tagoe Quarcoo largely kept faith with the players who played in the first leg as she named the 18 players for the trip.
The Queens who arrived in Kenya on Sunday for the game are: Fafali Dumehasi, Azume Adams, Gladys Amfobea, Ellen Coleman, Rita okyere, Janet Egyir, Juliet Acheampong, Portia Boakye, Priscilla okyere, Justice Tweneboaa, Grace Animah.
The others are: Evelyn Badu, Elizabeth Owusuaa, Anesthesia Aehiaa , Emestina Abamblla, Mavis Owusu, Grace Acheampong and Philicity AsuakoTwo other matches are scheduled for today.
Zambia who won 1-0 against Botswana in the first leg, travel to Francistown for the second leg. The winners of this tie will face the winners of the Kenya-Ghana game.
Democratic Republic of Congo will be hoping to overturn a 0-2 loss to Cameroun in the first leg to win the second leg in their home at Kinshasa to advance and book a date with Cote d’Ivoire who shocked, favourites, Nigeria with the away goal rule after their 1-1 draw result in Lagos.
The first leg in Abidjan ended goalless.