Ghana’s Under-20 Women’s World Cup (WWC) team, the Black Princesses are turning their attention to their second game against South Korea in Dresden tomorrow. Rather than praise his girls, or mull over the result of the opening game, which Kuuku Dadzie is rather putting behind him and planning for tomorrow’s game against South Korea which he has described as ‘crucial.’
“I don’t want to dwell on what happened in the opening game against SA that much. We have a point that and psychologically it a morale booster. But that will not mean much in the second game as we have to play to and keep the dream of making it to the quarter-final on course,” he told the Graphic Sports in a telephone interview.
Football pundits variously described Princesses 1 – 1 with defending champions the USA in their opening game last Wednesday, as ‘surprising and unbelievable’.
Considering the pedigree of the two sides in women’s football, the Americans were supposed to retain their winning record against an unknown side but they were almost caught off guard as a seventh minute 25-yarder from Elizabeth Cudjoe left the champions at the losing end until their captain and play-maker, Sydney Leroux, spared them the embaraassment with the 70th minute equaliser.
“Though in football records’ and pedigrees are important, the real deal is what happens on the pitch and remember, every team that qualifies to be in the tournament is a potential winner,” he said. What, according to him, is important to him is for his side to carry on the lessons learnt from that first game into the second. “We identified some few problems which we’ hope to rectify before the second game.
“The South Koreans are a strong side and we will have to find a way of going past them. I don’t want the girls to be complacent over the results of the USA game. Yesterday is past, we have to focus on what is ahead of us tomorrow, and that is South Korea, “Coach Dadzie told the Graphic Sports.
Coach Dadzie said they were in the competition to play to win and not just make up the numbers, and thus described. the performance and result in that game that saw captain Mercy Myles suddenly taken ill, as well as some hard tackles on goal heroine, Elizabeth Cudjoe, who had to be substituted as a ‘good start’, which he admitted will spur the girls on to play better against the Coach Dadzie also allayed any injury fears or fitness concern, saying’ all the players would be fit for duty tomorrow. “Everyone is fine and Cudjoe and Egyir who received some heavy knocks are responding to treatment. The captain is also doing well. I’m sure everyone will be ready for duty, come the next game,” he assured.
While he may seem confident that his .girls have what it takes to meet the South Koreans who are making a second appearance at this tournament, Coach Dadzie says his main worry will be to get” his charges to convert the chances they create and not hang on to slim leads like they did against the Americans.
“Remember the outcome of that match could determine how far we will get in this competition. We need to win to secure our places to the quarter-finals. That is our major concern,” he stressed.
He said they were not just going to go for a win but he was going to psyche his girls up to go for more goals as that may be the deciding factor in their group.
Having scored just a goal and coming up against a South Korean side that netted four unanswered goals in their opening game against Switzerland last Wednesday, Coach Dadzie indeed has to be worried about his next opponents.
Just like the Princesses, the South Koreans have built their current squad around their Under-17 squad that reached the quarter-finals in the maiden tournament in New Zealand two years ago.
From that squad, striker Ji So-Hun who was their top marksman has already made her presence felt when she netted ‘the first hat-trick of this tournament in the South Koreans 4-0 win over Switzerland.
Ghana’s Florence Dadson who is carved in a similar mould as So-Hun was not that impressive in the opening game. Tomorrow’s game could be the defining moment for her as a lot will depend on what she does in front of South Korea’s goal to help the Princesses get the desired results.
The second Group D match is also equally crucial not just to the parties involved, but to Ghana’s interest as well.
Despite their draw against Ghana, the Americans are still the favourites to go to the next round of the competition.
Against-Switzerland who they play in the first Group D game tomorrow, they are tipped to comfortably scale that hurdle.
By: Rosalind Amoh via Graphic Sports
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