U-20 WWC: Ghana and Nigeria Split Tune-Up Friendlies

Ghana’s Under-20 Women’s National Team, who will face the United States U-20 WNT in the two sides’ opening match of the Under-20 Women’s World Cup this August in Japan, recently hosted two friendlies against rival African side Nigeria. In the first match, on July 24th, Ghana, who never trailed in the friendly, defeated Nigeria 3:2, with a brace by top forward Florence Dadson. In the second match, Ghana took an early lead — in just the 2nd minute — but was unable to hold back Nigeria, who scored two unanswered goals in the second half to claim a victory.

July 24th: Ghana 3, Nigeria 2.
GHA Goals: Florence Dadson (7′, 45′), Elizabeth Addo (72′).
NGA Goals: Esther Sunday (second half), Desire Oparanozie (77′).
Source: GhanaFA.org write-up, Ghana News Agency article.

July 25th: Ghana 1, Nigeria 2.
GHA Goals: Elizabeth Addo (2′). {yes, in the 2nd minute}
NGA Goals: Desire Oparanozie (50′), Eyebhora Winfred or Ngozi Okobi (82′).
Sources: Ghana News Agency article, Goal.com Nigeria write-up (lists Okobi)

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After the first match, Nigeria’s coach Edwin Okon threatened to boycott the second match due to what he saw as overly-physical tackles from Ghana:

“Look at the way they were tackling my players. You can’t play a friendly match like this,” a visibly upset Okon told GNA Sports after the match.

According to the Nigerian coach, one of such tackles resulted in midfielder Esther Sunday sustaining an injury, which ensured she did not finish the game.

“I have lost one of my players (Esther Sunday) due to the physical play from the Ghanaians,” he added.

Ghana’s coach Robert Sackey “expressed huge surprise” at Okon’s reaction and rebutted with “Everyone saw the game and you can make your judgement.” (separate Ghana News Agency article)

The second match was also in doubt due to the sudden death of Ghana’s President, John Atta Mills. (SuperSport.com)

Ghana is in Group D with the United States, Germany, and China. The team may travel to the USA for a tune-up camp, but nothing is definite. Quote from Coach Sackey (SuperSport.com): “I have to tell you that I do not know what is happening. We have no concrete plans and it’s all up there.”

Nigeria is in Group B, along with Brazil, Italy, and South Korea.

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