Tuesday, 20 February 2018 19:09

ERNESTINA ABAMBILA: The Ghanaian teen destined for Greatness Featured

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It is not uneasy for writers to be rendered bereft of superlatives and other apt descriptions to paint a vivid picturesque image of the astute midfield dynamo. Ernestina Abambila’s blistering performances for her club, ZFK Minsk of Belarus and the National Women U-20 team of Ghana, the Black Princesses, due to her tactical mindedness, ferocious tenacity and endurance helps in pulling down such hurdles.
 
Abambila is an ambipedal player who is comfortable playing as a rightback, centre back and a central midfielder. She’s a shrewd interceptor of the ball, while also intelligent in possession, capable of spraying lengthy passes, keeping the game simple, or executing the killer balls that really matter; likes to shoot on sight and also a dead-ball specialist. She knows what to do when, and for that reason making her an asset to her team.
 
Born in Sekondi, her talent was spotted at a very tender age. She was always seen playing keepy-uppy with her elder brother and father. Against the backdrop of huge dosage, resentment and drawbacks that female football developments suffer, Abambila was not the least perturbed but was determined to fight her way to the top. 
 
“Football started when I was born, “I was born into a family obsessed with football.” It wasn’t easy growing up as a female footballer in my community, “she told kickgh.com in an interview. 
 
“My mum was against my decision to play football because she was of the belief that child birth will be difficult for me one day but my dad and elder brother who have been supportive of my decision to play football talked her out of that thought. I was rejected by friends because they thought I was doing something odd but they understand me now and I promise to make them proud by etching my name in football folklore. “She said without a scintilla of doubt or hesitation.
 
Abambila was poached by Hasaacas ladies while playing for her school in the Inter Schools football competition. Funnily enough, she was in class 3 but was featuring for the JHS team. The scouts of Hasaacas Ladies present were awed by her talent and were left with no option than coax her into joining them- a request Abambila gladly accepted.
 
She became an integral member of Hasaacas Ladies and was very influential in the club winning the 2012/13 and 2013/14 National Women’s League titles. Her consistent performances for Hasaacas Ladies earned her a place in the Black Maidens team that represented Ghana in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup hosted by Costa Rica. She had her debut in Ghana’s match against North Korea- a game the maidens won. “Playing in the World Cup was a wonderful experience. I learnt many things from that competition which have been of immense help to me. It is an experience I’ll never forget, I’m glad I made the right choice.”
 
Abambila joined Mississippi Valley State after the tournament. She went ahead to make another World Cup appearance in 2016 but this time at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2016 hosted by Papua New Guinea. The Black Princesses finished last of the group that had France, USA and New Zealand. 
 
Abambila who was one of the brightest spots in the Black Princesses team was again pursued by a lot of clubs but she opted join Youngstown State in the United States.
Currently with Belarussian side ZFK Minsk, she played a pivotal role in the club’s double (league and FA cup) winning feat in 2017 and also became the first Ghanaian to score in the UEFAWomen’s Champions League when ZFK Minsk beat Ljubljana in the group stage of the 2017-18 UEFA Women’s Champions League.
 
Whereas the Bermuda triangle features prominently in geography as an area in the Atlantic region of Bermuda, Florida and Puerto Rico where flights and sailing vessels are vulnerable, her dexterity, prowess and proclivities always as strategic as a bait has compelled people to label her a region as Bermuda, implying how perilous she can be in stopping marksmen, bringing them down and depriving them of balls.
 
Abambila would be making her third FIFA World Cup Appearance later this year as the Black Princesses edged past Cameroon to book a ticket to France for the mundial. She was enormous in the campaign, with her fighting spirit, energy and ferocity in midfield embodying her manager’s philosophy. As ever, the combative midfielder was always seen setting the tone beautifully for her side by flying into tackles, pressing relentlessly and tracking back doggedly, as her physicality unsettles her opponents and even recorded a goal against Cameroon.
 
Not the sort to switch off when off-duty, she is a self-confessed football geek who carefully studies her statistics and tries to improve daily. Truly, there’s an upsurge in her play, adding greater physical edge and leadership quality to her burgeoning quality. Her dazzling performances have made her a role model to up and coming footballers, considering the enviable rarity of the panache and male machismo she evinces and asserts in building a fortress for the midfield department of the game, where she controls and commands a football regiment.
 
She’s unreasonably optimistic of playing for Chelsea Ladies in the near future. “I hope to realise my dream of playing for Chelsea Ladies and hopefully win the Champions League with them. I know it takes a lot of hardwork and determination to get there so I’m still working hard to make it happen.”
 
At 19, she is still a raw product that needs polishing in some aspects of the game, but if she sticks with her current work ethic, there is no doubt that she can become a top-class player who will dazzle fans for many years to come.
 
By: Edmund Isaac Obeng
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