Despite winning 2-0 away against South Africa’s Basetsana in their Women’s World Cup (WWC) qualifier in Daveyton, South Africa last week Saturday, Coach Robert Sackey says the Princesses’ quest to advance in the competition is far from over.
With such a crucial away win in this second round first leg encounter, most pundits believe that the Princesses, who host the second leg in Accra on Saturday, have their feet firmly rooted in the final round of the qualifiers, but Coach Sackey insists the coast is not completely clear.
“ Yes, it is an important win and we are happy that we accomplished our mission in South Africa but the fight is not over as we still have to prepare for the second leg in Accra in two weeks,” Coach Sackey told the media moments after his side’s victory in South Africa on March 31.
After a first half which saw a lot of exchanges but no goals, the Princesses lifted their game and scored two goals in the second – in the 50th minute through Florence Dadson who finished off a brilliant move from Alice Eva Danso and an 80th minute penalty converted by Elizabeth Addo after Danso had been brought down in the box – to take a bold step into the second leg of this second round qualifier.
A result that brought a big relief to Coach Sackey who also expressed his satisfaction with the performance of his ladies. He said despite the unfriendly weather, he was happy they played to instructions.
He said even though he was happy with the scoreline and performance of the team, there was still some rough edges to be smoothened and that will be the team’s focus when they return home today and continue with their preparations.
“ There is still room for improvement and we will want to qualify for the tournament with an unblemished record. We want to win convincingly at home and that means we have to work extra harder to achieve that result.
“We still have to improve on our finishing as well as on the individual performances of the players. We will also work on the mistakes we committed in this match so as to have a better performance in the second leg, ” Coach Sackey, said.
His plans for the return leg could, however, be threatened by the South Africans who have also declared their intention of coming to Ghana for revenge.
South Africa’s coach, Sheryl Botes in a post-match interview admitted they had a difficult task now to cancel Ghana’s 2-0 lead in this second round qualifier but said it was not impossible for her side to also win 3-0 when they come to Accra on April 14.
“ What the loss means is that we have to score three unanswered goals when we visit Accra. It is a difficult task but not an impossible one. There was very good officiating today and we hope it will be the same in the second leg,” Ms Botes told the media.
Asked if their plan of avenging the strings of losses to Ghana had been thrown overboard and that they were now under pressure to save their WWC dream, Ms Botes said of course they were under pressure to win against Ghana and indicated they will make some few changes to their tactics to accomplish their mission when they visit Accra.
“ We have stronger and better players and we are still hopeful we can make it. We won’t come to Ghana to fight anyone’s battle but ours, we remain focused to advance in this WWC,” she insisted.
She explained that the absence of one of her key strikers, Jermaine Seopasewane, who also plays for the senior side, Bayana Bayana but who missed last Saturday’s match due to injury affected her game plan but said she would be fit for the return leg and indicated that her presence and experience could prove Ghana’s undoing.
However, Coach Sackey asked to react to that said: “That will be wishful thinking because it will be ridiculous for anyone to think that we will let our guards down and lose such an opportunity. Not after we have taken such a lead.