U-20 WWC: Ghana Fact File (2012, Vol. 1)

When the United States Under-20 Women’s National Team plays its first match in the 2012 U-20 Women’s World Cup at the Hiroshima Big Arch Stadium in Japan, the USA will play the same opening opponent that they faced in 2010: Ghana. In that match, Ghana scored first,on a 7th minute Elizabeth Cudjoe goal. A 70th minute equalizer by Sydney Leroux salvaged a point for the USA, who would go on to win the group.

The bad news for the USA is that eight of Ghana’s starters in that match are age-eligible for this year’s U-20 WWC. And, the good news is… see the bad news.

Yes, it is a glass half-full situation: Although Ghana could be a challenge to crack, this year the U-20 USWNT has an advantage it did not have in the teams’ previous encounter: Since Ghana returns a majority of its key players from 2010, this makes the scouting of the team easier, which should mean that the USA is better prepared than two years ago.

* * *

CONTENTS

  • How They Got Here
  • Match-Ups in Previous  U-19/U-20 Women’s World Cups
  • Coaching Staff
  • Notable Players
  • Likely Player Pool

* * *

HOW THEY GOT HERE

Ghana’s path for qualification involved a series of home-and-away knock-out contests  versus Namibia, South Africa, and Tunisia. Proper match reports are not readily available, so information is spotty. All links in this section go to Ghana FA news items unless otherwise indicated.

Namibia – 10:0 on aggregate (February-March 2012)

Ghana 7, Namibia 0 (4:0 at half-time).
Goal Scorers: Florence Dadson (3), Priscilla Saahene, Elizabeth Addo, Faustina Ampah, Deborah Afriyie

Namibia 0, Ghana 3.
Goal Scorers:  Mercy Myles, Deborah Afriyie, Beatrice Sesu

South Africa – 5:0 on aggregate (March-April 2012)

South Africa 0, Ghana 2.
Goal Scorers: Florence Dadson (50′) and Elizabeth Addo (78′ PK)
AllAfrica.com article (with more details, including Ghana’s line-up)

Ghana 3, South Africa 0.
Goal Scorers: Priscilla Saahene (11′ FK), Janet Ayinem (65′), Elizabeth Addo (72′ PK)
CAFonline.com write-up (has some extra details)

Tunisia – 7:2 on aggregate (May 2012)

Tunisia 1, Ghana 3.
Goal Scorers: n/a.
(Apparently Tunisia scored first, see AllAfrica link, below)

Ghana 4, Tunisia 1 (0:1 at half-time).
Goal Scorers: Elizabeth Addo (48, ~90′), Alice Eva Danso (54′), Candice Osei-Agyemang (75′)
Write-up at AllAfrica.com (has a few more details)

Note: Ghana’s website does not have the best navigation, but to find all the relevant articles on their U-20 WNT, see this page: www.ghanafa.org/pages/blackprincesses/

* * *

MATCH-UPS IN PREVIOUS U-19/U-20 WOMEN’S WORLD CUPS

The USA and Ghana have only met once before in a U-20 Women’s World Cup: a 1:1 draw in the teams’ opening group stage match. The USA went down early, in the 7th minute, via a shot from outside the box.

Sixty-plus minutes later, Teresa Noyola dispossessed a Ghanian attacker and fed a pass up to Maya Hayes who crossed the ball to a speeding Sydney Leroux in front of Ghana’s goal. Leroux then slide-kicked in a shot for the equalizer. However, Leroux appeared to be in an offside position when Hayes passed the ball. But, the flag was not raised and the USA escaped the match with a draw and a point.

Overall, the USA played a poor match: poor organization, poor passing, poor movements, poor passing, poor shooting.

Notes on Ghana: The team captain, Mercy Myles, left the match in the 35th minute after vomiting on-field… A handful of players went down for injuries, may have milked the clock. A total of nine minutes of stoppage time was added.

Key USA Stat: 25 shots, but only 7  on goal. — Ghana actually had more shots on goal, with 8, out of 15 total shots.

See Also: FIFA Highlight Video; US Soccer match report; FIFA.com box score, write-up, etc.; BigSoccer play-by-play thread. Brief match review at CrossConference.com.

* * *

COACHING STAFF

The Black Princesses’ head coach is Ghana native Robert Sackey, who is currently based in the San Francisco area. In October 2011, Sackey took over for the previous head coach, James Kuuku Dadzie, after Dadzie was promoted to the head coaching spot for Ghana’s senior WNT (www.ghana.gov.gh).

Sackey, who holds a USSF “A” coaching license,  has been involved with Ghana’s national teams, women’s and men’s, since 2003. He also has experience coaching a WPSL team, the San Fransisco Nighthawks, youth teams, and high school teams.  For more background on Sackey, see the “About,” “Ghana,” and “Teams” pages on www.sabisoccer.com, which is a soccer academy he started.

Sackey’s current assistant head coach is Ben Fokuo. Fokuo recently replaced Edina Yeke,  who is now on maternity leave (www.ghanasoccernet.com).

* * *

NOTABLE PLAYERS

Not enough information is available to properly discuss the team’s key players.

At least two players on the team have American connections:

Florence Dadson: Forward. The team’s most dangerous scoring threat. Plays NAIA soccer for Robert Morris University in Chicago, Illinois. Scored 2 goals at the 2008 U-17 WWC, but none at the 2010 U-20 WWC. Height is listed at 177cm, or just under 5’10”. Nickname is “Maa Longie.”

Candice Osei-Agyemang: Forward. Attended the University of Pennsylvania in 2010, but did not play her freshman season due to a knee injury. Transferred to the University of Arizona before her sophomore year, but has yet to play NCAA soccer. Older sister Mimi played for Ghana’s senior WNT, including at the 2003 WWC.

* * *

LIKELY PLAYER POOL

Although an official player pool list is not available, an unofficial list can be constructed based on Ghana’s rosters at past youth Women’s World Cups. Ghana has made three appearances in those Cups: the 2010 U-20 WWC, the 2010 U-17 WWC, and the 2008 U-17 WWC. Based on those rosters, there are 26 players with 1992, 1993, or 1994 birthdays.

Players  with 1995 and later birthdays have not been included since they are more likely to make the 2012 U-17 WWC roster, as Ghana is one of the three teams from Africa that has qualified for that tournament. Those younger players include 2010 U-17 captain Beatrice Sesu (1995 birthday), who scored at least one goal in U-20 qualifying.

TABLE 1: ELIGIBLE PLAYERS FROM PAST YOUTH WWCs
(Players are sorted by position, then by minutes played in the tournaments.)

PLAYER              P.   YEAR    HT   10U20   10U17   08U17
MANTEY, Patricia    GK   1992   169     270             270
DUMAHISI, Fafali    GK   1993   169       0
ASANTEWAA, Nana     GK   1993   166       0
OTOO, Margaret      GK   1993   161             270       0
SIMPSON, Ayishatu   GK   1993   171               0
-----------------------------------------------------------
AMPEM, Rosemary     DF   1992   157     270             270
ATOVOR, Edem        DF   1994   152     270             224
EGYIR, Janet        DF   1992   154     205
DAPAAH, Felicia     DF   1994   167       0
MUSTAPHA, Fauzia    DF   1993   155       0
ASANTE, Rebecca     DF   1994   152             159
YIADOM, Cynthia     DF   1994   151             133
OKINE, Priscilla    DF   1993   161                       0
-----------------------------------------------------------
AFRIYIE, Deborah    MF   1992   155     237             245
ADDO, Elizabeth     MF   1993   155     235             168
CUDJOE, Elizabeth   MF   1992   155     232             207
MYLES, Mercy        MF   1992   150     125             211
SAAHENE, Priscilla  MF   1992   151      14               0
DJABAAH, Felicia    MF   1994   154             202
ESSIFUL, Mary       MF   1993   158             154
CUDJOE, Jennifer    MF   1994   163              26
-----------------------------------------------------------
DADSON, Florence    FW   1992   177     270             270
OKYERE, Rita        FW   1993   161             270
DANSO, Alice        FW   1994   154             269
FORDJOUR, Isha      FW   1993   161                     155
Osei-Agyemang, C.   FW   1992   174                      94

Key: “Year” is the player’s birth year; HT.” is the player’s height in centimeters; “10U20” is the minutes played in the 2010 U-20 WWC;  “10U17” is the minutes played in the 2010 U-17 WWC; and “08U17” is minutes played in the 2008 U-17 WWC.