Queens will be ready for Women’s AFCON - Bashir Hayford
Coach Bashir Hayford, the man now in charge of Ghana's Black Queens, believes his team will be ready in good time for the 2018 Women's Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) which Ghana hosts from November 17 to December 1.
Hayford, who was offered the job last May, had his appointment confirmed by the FIFA-CAF Liaison Team last month and has been in charge since the Queens regrouped last month to begin their preparations for the tournament.
Having taken charge, Mercy?Tagoe Quarcoo, who has been acting since last February, and who led the team to their historic WAFU Zone B tournament in Abidjan, reverts to the assistant coach role.
Coach Hayford said, the past month in camp has seen the ladies picking up and had no doubt that they would be ready.
"We are aware that many people have been concerned about our preparations, but I think our plan is to peak just in time for the competition and we have outlined how we intend to achieve that. I can assure all that we will be ready to carry out our roles as worthy hosts," he told the Graphic Sports Online.
He also revealed that the technical team had requested for some international friendlies which would help them smoothen out the rough edges of the team, and also indicated that the team were embarking on a national tour this week.
"We have requested that some international friendly matches be arranged for us and that request has received favourable response.
"Also, we are starting a national tour across some selected regions, aimed at getting the team busy and also to win support in the build up to the Women's AFCON," the coach, who led the Princesses to the 2014 Women's World Cup in Canada, explained.
The tour which is likely to start on Wednesday, will see the Queens play selected sides in Tamale, Kumasi and Takoradi as well as play the National Women's League champions, Ampem Darkoa Ladies in Techiman.
The tour will be rounded off in Cape Coast, one of the host venues for the Women's AFCON.
Twenty-five players are currently in camp at the Ghanaman Soccer Centre of Excellence in Prampram and will be later joined by the foreign-based players.
Hayford’s team must be ready by the third week in October, the deadline to submit the final list of 21 players.
The players in camp are:
Goalkeepers: Patricia Mantey, Nana Ama Asantewaa, Fafali Dumehasi, Barikisu Issahaku
Defenders: Ellen Coleman, Pricsilla Lartey, Gladys Amfobea, Edem Atorvor, Linda Addae, Rosemary Ampem, Philicity Asuako
Midfielders: Perpetual Agyekum, Rita Okyere, Ellen Ampong, Juliet Acheampong, Mary Essiful, Leticia Zikpi, Mavis Owusu, Diana Wiegbe, Alberta Asante, Ernestina Tetteh, Grace Asantewaa
Forwards: Lily Niber-Lawrence, Ruth Appiah, Gifty Appiah, Jane Ayieyam, Stephanie Appiah, Sandra Owusu-Ansah
Foreign-based: Janet Egyir, Faustina Ampah, Linda Eshun, Elizabeth Addo, Priscilla Okyere, Alice Kusi, Portia Boakye, Markella Suka