With now being the end of the season. Or in the close season, what better time to review, or highlight some of the season in the Ghana Women’s Premier League (GWPL).
Feminism in Soccer: The Ghana Perspective
Thanks to a greater media coverage since the first recorded Female soccer match played on the 9th of May 1881 pitting Scotland against England at the Easter Road Stadium in Edinburgh, women’s participation in soccer games has increased rapidly. It’s a story that defies the stereotypes of sport for women: A game, which, according to The FA, was quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged. Thus, it wasn’t until the men’s team won the world cup in 1966 that scepticism around women’s football was settled and in 1969, the women’s FA was formed. At this time, football was considered a part of local culture that created opportunities for young people.
Over time, the fanfare went across continents, much that by the end of the 19th century, merchants predominantly from Europe took it to the Gold Coast where the Ghana Football Association will be established in 1957 to help manage football events dominated entirely by the then patriarchy nature of most African societies where football for women was a taboo, just like getting education or owning properties.
As such, it was not until the Confederation of African Football launched the African Women Championship in 1991 that Ghanaian Women, like in other parts of Africa, received a green light for the adorable soccer sports event. After several years, the Ghana FA organized a female national team (the Black Queens), implemented a Ghana women’s Football League, and later added a women’s FA Cup, and an U17 division, featuring different club matches. To this may be added the U20 black princesses who are among the strongest in Africa and the lone African side which have qualified to every youth World Cup so far, not forgetting the U17 Black maidens who defeated Germany at the 2012 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in Abidjan to keep the greatest International Trophy the continent have ever had.
When compared to male soccer, the truth is that women’s football in Ghana is still in the process of gaining flagship status. But amidst the challenges, struggles by the GFA in promoting women at all levels can never be underestimated. Through its partnership with the UEFA Assist program, the GFA currently champions the training of young female players, football administrators, coaches, and medics. As practical evidence of this reality, the entire Women’s Premier League and Women’s FA Cup matches are officiated by Women Referees trained by Women Instructors. Former GFA presidential hopeful Wilfred Osei Kwaku advised that funding be made comprehensive enough to cover all facets of football including college football and juvenile championship, up to the premiership if the GFA intends to dominate the struggle.
Thus, the narrative behind where Ghanaian women’s football was some time ago, and where it is now, is a culmination of time, experience, and expectations: A team going to the World Cup; A team playing in the inaugural women’s champions league final; A team winning the Women FA Cup, and more recently a Women’s Juvenile League being created. Indeed, one may say “When you train a man, you train an individual but when you train a woman, you build a nation.
U20’s Qualifying for the World Cup in Costa Rica
Head coach Ben Fokuo agile fighters made their first appearance in the 2010 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup hosted by Germany and have since then secured a participating ticket in the subsequent tournaments, though they’ve never gone pass the group stage. Their bid for yet another ticket: Costa Rica 2022, started in an “allez” defeat over their Ethiopian counterpart thanks to a brace from Salamatu Abdullai and another spectacular finish from Cecelia Nyama. With such a pleasant away win, the West Africans became hungrier to seal their victory, this time from their home advantage. Barely two minutes into the return leg, soccer genius Salamatu found the net again, giving his side the lead, and finally sealed the breakthrough with another brace to put a halt on Ethiopia’s impressive qualification run.
The Women’s Juvenile League: Success, Failures, and the Way Forward
Before now, Football in Ghana featured a national Women’s Premier League and FA Cup, alongside a regional Division One League hosting women with pace and skill to burn. To this has been added the women’s Juvenile League which encourages more young girls into the game of football, promoting a global network of young people who are committed to a culture of friendship. These leagues also help raise awareness on the significant contributions of women to sport, given that, grassroots football is a key component in developing young talents.
Despite the resolve to empower more women, many challenges still plague the football industry in Ghana ranging from lack of professionalism to administrative issues, to dire financial problems. Another major challenge is the low attendance witnessed during women’s football matches resulting in low revenues for the clubs. In the words of ex-head coach of Asante Kotoko, Zdravko Lugarusic, “Football is, or albeit, has been stagnant in Ghana”.
Hasaacas Ladies Reaching the Inaugural Women’s Champions League Final
Hasaacas Ladies: multiple times Ghana national women’s league champions, were the first finalist in the maiden edition of the Total Energies CAF Women’s Champions League trophy after a 2-1 win against Moroccan favorite, AS FAR Rabat. The Sekondi-based team progressed to the final following a brace from left-winger Doris Boaduwaa: Two mouth-watering headers; one at the 36 minutes; another some 40 minutes into the second half. They were later joined by Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa who edged the Malabo Kings of Equatorial Guinea to secure a similar spot with Hasaacas ladies. Sadly, the inaugural final at the 30 June Stadium in Cairo, Egypt was worn by Five Times COSAFA Champions, Mamelodi Sundowns after a 2-0 lead over rivalry Hasaacas Ladies FC. The trophy is the first of its kind to be contested between the two best teams on the continent.
Champions League finalists, Hasaacas Ladies, lose to Ampem FC in the Women’s FA Cup.
Comfort Yeboah’s 17th minute first-half penalty at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi was all the Joe Nana Adarkwa’s Techiman-based outfit, Ampem Darkoa Ladies needed to secure the Ghanaian Women’s FA Cup at the detriment of holders, Hasaacas Ladies. It marked the very first FA triumph for the Ghana Women’s Premier League title winners and a historic domestic double in 13 years, making them the second Ghanaian side to complete the domestic double after Hasaacas’ successes in 2021. Following this victory, they are booked to represent Ghana at the WAFU B qualifying tournament in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire from August 13 to 27, where they will seek qualification to the 2022 Total Energies CAF Women’s Champions League.
That’s it for our overview and some of the highlights of the 2021/22 season in womens football. But as with our podcast. Like, comment, share and subscribe/follow. We’ll posting as usual vía social media keeping up with the stories as they unfold in the coming weeks. As always if you have any questions or queries. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet or DM us at @teamghanaeu on IG or Twitter.
Written by James Orien
- Hasaacas Ladies Team Photo (https://ghanasoccernet.com/)
- Ghana U17 v Germany – 2012 (https://ghanasoccernet.com/)
- Hasaacas Ladies Champions League Final (https://www.facebook.com/ourafricanfootball/)
- Ampem FC winning the Women’s FA Cup (https://ghanasoccernet.com/)
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