France 2018: What Went Wrong? (Part One)

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The turmoil Ghana football has faced over the last few months seemingly continued during the under-20 Women’ World Cup held in France. The lack of hype that surrounded the team’s qualification seemed to highlight the lack of belief in the capabilities of the Black Princesses. The words to describe the preparation for the tournament need to be selected appropriately and the words “shocking”, “disappointing”, and “non-existent” all seem to fit the bill.

The princesses faced the problem of there being no food to feed them at the Ghanaman Center for Soccer Excellence at Prampram. Camping was supposed to start mid-April but couldn’t. The question being asked is how is this possible? The nation’s soccer training center has no food for girls who have sacrificed to serve the nation? This situation forced the postponement of the camping exercise and by the time they managed to get food for the girls, the training schedule had to be revised by Coach Yusif Basigi. And the situation only got worse.images

Ace investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, then exposed the rot in Ghana football in his explosive exposé “Number 12”. The exposé lead to the government getting a legal order to halt all footballing activities in the country in its bid to clean up the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and Ghana football as a whole. The team was asked to go home indefinitely on June 10, 2018. It took almost one month for the dust to settle and the team returned to training at Prampram, with most or rather all players seriously lacking stamina and endurance. Coach Basigi cut a frustrated figure a number of times in his press interviews and voiced his concerns at the lack of concrete preparations for the tournament.

With the tournament just a month away, training recommenced in urgency and a planned training tour of Spain was cancelled due to the inability to secure visas for all the girls. The cancellation of the tour meant that no international friendlies, no acclimatization to European weather nothing at all. It was simply Kumasi-Prampram-Accra-France. This was surely going to be a recipe for disaster and it would manifest itself in Vannes, France in the subsequent weeks. The team was already dealing with the loss of talismanic striker Princella Adubea who suffered a knee injury that would rule her out of the tournament leaving the goal scoring burden on former Under 17 star Sandra Owusu Ansah.

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