Botswana’s women Under 20 national team received a rude awakening defeat at the hands of one of Africa’s powerful houses, Ghana, during the World Championships tournament.
Ghana humiliated Botswana by four goals to one in a game in which Botswana played well.
Although Botswana came into the game knowing that Ghana naturally had an upper hand, they fought hard but inexperience let them down. Several supporters who watched the game thought Botswana were in the driving seat after a goalless first half. But Ghana came back strongly in the second half, showing Botswana that they still have a long way to go if they are to be at par with them.
For Botswana, credit has to go to the goalkeeper, Kagiso Ramogerita. She made many mighty saves, saving Botswana from worse serious embarrassment.
Ghana scored their first goal from a corner kick in the 59th minute. Grace Asare’s corner deflected from one of Botswana defenders and never gave Ramogerita a chance. After the goal, Ghana was even more ignited and penetrated Botswana from the flanks.
Two ladies who mainly gave Botswana a hell lot of trouble were Anita Amankwa and Asare who were quick and physically tough. Asare, who was playing free role position, was a thorn in the flesh, especially in middle of the park. It was not surprising when Amankwa scored a beautiful second goal in the 67th minute. She cut from the right flank and put it past an advancing Ramogerita.
She could have made it three a minute later following a break through but Ramogerita parried it back into play much to the delight of many Botswana supporters.
The second goal did not demoralise Botswana players who continued fighting but could not easily penetrate disciplined Ghana.
Ghana made it three in the 79th minute from Amkoma Diawa who was also troublesome to Botswana. Three minutes after Ghana’s third goal, Botswana scored their first goal via Nthabiseng Mogatle. Her fighting spirit paid off because she put a lot of pressure on the Ghana defence and ended up winning the ball and slotting it past the Ghana goalie, Mary Merquaye, who was rarely tested.
After the goal, Botswana continued to pile pressure and won numerous corners which Merguaye gallantly saved. Botswana failed to use their aerial advantage because the Ghanaians were generally shorter and struggled with free kicks and corners. Ghana wrapped it up three minutes before full time. Substitute Portia Boakye capitalised following a concentration lapse in the Botswana camp.
Although Botswana lost, Ghana was not that dangerous bearing in mind that they, together with Nigeria, are dominant forces of African women football.
For Ghana, the results mean they have an easy fixture at home in a fortnight’s time. But for Botswana, only a miracle can help them qualify for the next round.
West African countries rarely give warm receptions to visiting teams from other countries.