Monday, 13 August 2018 13:56

Ghana 1- 0 New Zealand: 4 Things We Learned As Anima Grabs Ghana’s First Win In France Featured

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Thanks to Ruth Anima’s winner, the Black Princesses of Ghana ended its World Cup campaign with a 1-0 win against New Zealand on Sunday; it was a consolation victory, after the West African side had already been eliminated from the tournament after losses to France and Netherlands, but a victory nonetheless.
As for the Junior Football Ferns, the result meant they would exit the competition with just a point having previously lost to Netherlands and drawing with France.
Here are four things we learned at the Stade Guy- Piriou in Concarneau on Sunday afternoon.
Ghana salvage some pride with win
The Black Princesses were the surprise package in the Group that had France and Netherlands as favourites but they couldn’t cause an upset. 
Playing for nothing more than pride here following back-to-back defeats by France and Netherlands, they at least ended on a high note with a deserved 1-0 victory. 
Ruth Anima scored from close range to hand the West Africans their first victory in France, but this result does not alter the fact that the Black Princesses should have done better at this World Cup considering the talent at their disposal, there is plenty of rebuilding work to be done.
It may have been a disappointing campaign for Yusif Basigi’s charges but it was a good thing they at least managed to win a game as they exited the competition.
Ruth Anima showed her class
It didn’t take long for both sides to settle into their rhythm; Ghana dominated the ball in the opening exchanges, playing with confidence in midfield, but they struggled to break through and ask questions of a New Zealand side more than happy to sit tight and play on the counter-attack.
Sandra Owusu-Ansah and Ruth Anima were involved early on without ever really threatening, just as had been the case in their previous two games, while Sam Tawharu forced an early save from Ghana goalkeeper Martha Annan. 
New Zealand were the stronger side after the interval but they failed to convert the chances that came their way. Instead, it was Ghana that claimed the winner with a quarter of an hour remaining. 
Grace Asantewaa’s initial shot struck the crossbar, but Anima was on hand to head home on the rebound and got the all important victory for her country.
Yusif Basigi passes New Zealand test with flying colours
All eyes were on the much maligned coach of  the Black Princesses but unfortunately for the fans, Yusif Basigi passed the test with flying colours.
He’s been calumniated for being a conservative back home, but it was same approach that won him the game. Ghana were not at their best in the second half, but it was they who did most of the running and looked to make things happen.
Forget the disappointing results; Basigi has already made his mark on Ghanaian football. The confidence he has instilled in the team suggests a bright future; they play a lot with a huge gulf in quality.
Ghana should be given a great credit for staying true to their principles in the face of  a clearly superior level this campaign, and Basigi deserves the chance to build something long term if he so pleases.
Asantewaa and Owusu-Ansah offer hope
Grace Asantewaa remains a mainstay of this team and was arguably Ghana’s best performer in France. She was again superb against the Junior Football Ferns on Sunday, screening her back four in a deep-lying midfield role and covering brilliantly for her defenders. 
She read the game well and battled hard against a strong New Zealand presence, and played an integral role in Ghana’s build-up play. Lest you forget, she had a hand Ghana’s goal.
Sandra Owusu- Ansah on the other hand was handful upfront for the New Zealand defence. Leading the line alone in a 4-4-2 formation, the Ghana forward admirably fulfilled her role and caused problems with her speed and movement, while her touch and hold-up play were also excellent.
By: Godfred Budu Yeboah
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