***Fail to pick CAF Women’s CL ticket
By Harry Awurumibe, Africa’s No.1 Women Football Journalist
Striker Ophelia Amponsah’s 43rd minute goal was enough for Ampem Darkoa FC to pip host team Delta Queens of Asaba by a lone goal to win the WAFU B tournament and also pick the sole ticket for the 2023 CAF Women’s Champions League final at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.
A mix-up between Delta Queens’s goalkeeper Anderline Mgbechi and the defenders gifted Ophelia Amponsah the opportunity to pounce and all efforts for the current Nigeria Women’s Football League (NWFL) champions to equalise failed to yield good results till the end of the first half.
On resumption, Delta Queens head coach Tosan Blankson made necessary changes to turn the match around but his opposite number, coach Joe Nana Adarkwa had better tactics on the day as he countered all attempts to take the Ghanaians for granted.
Nana Adarkwa who said lessons have been learned from last year’s disappointment when Ampem Darkoa failed to qualify for the 2022 CAF Women’s Champions League after the club lost 3-0 in the same WAFU B final last year to another Nigeria club, Bayelsa Queens, had unleashed the deadly trio of
Tracey Twun, Ophelia and Mary Amponsah, on Delta Queens and the result has favoured his team this time around.
The goalscoring ratio of Ampem Darkoa per match and the penchant of scoring early goals against opponents stood the team out amongst others that participated in the tournament.
The club scored more goals than Delta Queens as the high-scoring side banged in a total of 14 goals in four matches and conceded four in the process.
Save for the final match against Delta Queens, Twum and the two Amponsahs (Ophelia and Mary) had scored in the very first minute of the earlier three matches in the competition.
To reach the final, Ampem Darkoa walloped Amis Du Monde (Friends of the World FC) of Togo 4-2 in the first match, defeated Atletico FC of Cote D’Ivoire 3-1 to qualify for the semi-final where they trounced Sam Nelly 6-1 to qualify for the final in grand style.
The result showed that Nigeria will not be represented in the 2023 CAF Women’s Champions League which will hold in Cote D’Ivoire later in the year.
Both Rivers Angels of Port Harcourt and Bayelsa Queens who represented Nigeria in the first and second editions in Egypt and Morocco in 2021 and 2022 failed to make podium finish in the new competition introduced to promote women’s football by CAF.
Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa and ASFAR Women’s of Morocco won in both occasions, a testament to the growth in the Southern and North African countries.