Ghana crashed out of the ongoing Africa Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON) after a pulsating 1-1 stalemate with Cameroon at the Accra Sports Stadium on Friday.
The Black Queens finished third in Group A with four points behind Mali who clawed back twice to beat Algeria 3-2 in the other group fixture played simultaneously at the Cape Coast stadium.
Portia Boakye’s goal 31 minutes into the first half was equalized 10 minutes later, when goalkeeper Nana Ama Asantewaa brought down Gabrielle Onguene in the box for a penalty. Christine Manie took responsibility and placed the ball low on the right side of the goalkeeper.
The Queens could not create meaningful opportunities for a second goal that could have possibly qualified them to the semi final.
Having lost to Mali three days ago, Bashir Hayford’s girls were under severe pressure to win emphatically against the Les Lionnes Indomptables to enhance their chances of progressing to the next phase of the tournament.
Coach Bashir Hayford made five changes to the team that started against Mali, restoring Samira Suleiman and captain Elizabeth Addo who were dropped after the first game against Algeria. Faustina Ampah, Priscella Okyere and Patricia Mantey were all surplus to requirements. Portia Boakye was withdrawn to left-back, whilst Linda Eshun was move to the heart of the defense to pair Janet Egyir. Alice Akusi made her first start on the left flank.
Ghana dominated the early openings with Grace Asantewaa at the tick of every special move the Ghanaians made. Portia Boakye was the first to have a crack at goal 6 minutes into the game, but her long range effort missed the target. A minute later, Alice Kusi brilliant through ball found skipper Elizabeth Addo, but she was flagged offside.
Grace Asantewaa and Juliet combined brilliantly in midfield for the former to strike at goal, but she missed by inches.
Dominant Queens could not make a headway until Augstine Ejangue fouled Elizabeth Addo at the left side of Ghana’s attack. Portia Boakye drove the ball into the net and the stadium went agog. The cheers were deafening as the spectators sang on top of their voices in support.
Their joy could only last for 9 minutes as goalkeeper Ama Asantewaa sheepishly brought down Gabrielle Onguene in the box for Christine Manie to draw parity for Cameroon with 4 minutes to recess. She was booked for such anaemic goalkeeping.
Considering the result from Cape Coast which indicated Algeria were leading Mali, Ghanaians had hopes liven up, the Queens were much confident and pushed for the killer. Cameroon however bossed the game with silky interplay.
Bashir Hayford who felt he needed to chase the game brought on speedster Jane Ayieyam for Samira Suleiman one hour into match. Ndong responded with his own sub 2 minutes later to neutralise Ghana’s potency. Ghana huffed and puffed without success as their legs gets weary.
Augstine Ejangue found herself in the referee’s book for fouling Juliet Acheampong in the 70th minuted before Ghana effected their second change a minute later. Alice Kusi was pulled out for Lily Niber Lawrence but her impact in the last 15 minutes could not change the outcome of the as Ghana crashed out of the tournament at the early stage.