Africa Sports Women Posted on 2022-08-11 06:43:39
For Susan Ama Duah and Evelyn Badu, two young rising Ghanaian stars, it is not a new feat to represent their country at the international level. They were once members of Ghana’s U-17 Women’s national team. However, these young girls have grown from playing at a tender age for their country to becoming young women with enough potential to make their mark in African football. The duo who both play for Norwegian side, Avaldsnes FC, are part of Ghana’s U-20 Women’s National team ‘Black Princesses’ that will be representing their country at the FIFA U-20 Women World Cup in Costa Rica this August.
Although they have both represented their country before at the U-17 level, they are still excited to move from playing for the U-17 National team to the U-20 National team. For Susan, she is excited to play at the world Cup because it is a big opportunity for her.
Evelyn appreciates the opportunity and is happy to play at the world Cup. What makes it further exciting is the fact that she was selected to captain the team at the U-20 World Cup. She says, ‘I am happy about that and it’s an honour. I feel happy and honoured to be the one captaining the national team. It’s one of my achievements, I must say.’ Furthermore, the team has been working and training hard towards the tournament and so as the captain, she tries to do her best to support and encourage her teammates in the best way she can.
In discussing their aspirations and expectations for the world Cup, the duo are passionate about making sure that their team break both national and international records at the tournament. As the captain, Evelyn knows that she has a huge responsibility to lead the team to have a successful outing at the tournament. She intends to do this by playing to the best of her abilities and encouraging her teammates to give their very best and believe in themselves. Her greatest wish is to become the first captain to lead the U-20 Ghanaian team out of the group stage for the first time and ensure they get to the finals.
Individually, she wishes to replicate her achievements from the 2021 CAF Champions League at the U-20 Women World Cup and hopes she can win individual awards that would help her attract the right kind of attention. She hopes that ‘History can repeat itself’.
According to Susan, their predecessors have not been able to qualify from the group stage of the tournament and like her captain said, they want to be the first Ghanaian team to qualify from the group stage and possibly bring the silverware home. Personally, the defender wants to be able to give the best for her team and be the kind of defender that scores goals for her team. In fact, she wouldn’t mind winning an individual award in the process. However, helping her team is her foremost priority.
It is no news that global tournaments like the FIFA U-20 World Cup have a significant impact on the careers of some of these young female players. Players like Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria and Alex Morgan of USA are players that were catapulted to the international level because of their feats and achievements at the tournament. Susan and Evelyn also believe that their careers could receive a major turnaround if their team goes far in the tournament and they also give their individual best. Evelyn believes the U-20 World Cup is currently the biggest platform for her to showcase her talents to the world. She hopes that after the tournament, she is able to attract top clubs particularly her dream club, Barcelona. For Susan, she wants her current club, Avaldnes FC, to believe that they have the best centreback and hopes that she will be able to garner interest from other big clubs which will propel her football career forward.
Ahead of Ghana’s first match in the tournament, Susan doesn’t believe in doing any superstitious activity when preparing for the match or any of the other matches. ‘I just find some silent time to talk to myself and encourage myself to relax. I motivate myself before any game so I can be fully prepared.’ Evelyn also follows this path but for her, she listens to music to relax and also dance. Her current favourite song is Monalisa by Afrobeats musician, Lojay featuring the American pop singer, Chris Brown. In addition, prayer is very key for her and she takes time to pray before a game.
When asked about what advice they would give to their fellow teammates to encourage them in the tournament, Evelyn points out three steps to achieving success as a team at the tournament – Respect, Hard work and Self Determination. Susan says that the best thing is for all of them to come together and be determined to work hard and give their best in the tournament. She would tell them, ‘This is the work we have chosen and we have to benefit from it’. She says that they have worked too hard and trained for many months, and so, they deserve to reap the benefits of their labour. They are going to push each other and go for it.
Regarding their visit to Costa Rica, they hope to get the opportunity to explore the country as tourists apart from playing at the tournament. Evelyn is excited to visit Costa Rica because it is her first time and hopes to explore the country, meet people and try the food. Susan doesn’t know anything about the country but the experience is worth it for her and she looks forward to enjoying the weather and the country.
Finally, both players expressed their appreciation for their families, communities and home country, Ghana for the opportunity to play at the U-20 World Cup. Evelyn is grateful for her mother, family, mentor (Samira Suleiman) and all her fans and wants them to expect the best from her and the entire team at the tournament and remember them in their prayers. She enjoins them to keep supporting her and the team. Susan hopes to make her mother and family proud of their daughter and her abilities on the global stage – From Ghana to the world.
The Black Princesses of Ghana begin their U-20 Women World Cup Campaign against a strong United States side on Thursday, 11th August 2022 by 5 pm Ghana time (6 pm Nigerian time), and hope to come out victorious in their first group game.