Hasaacas’ Final against Rivers Angels Isn’t a Must-Win, But Victory Will Mean A Lot
There is little doubt about Hasaacas Ladies’ status as the best women’s team in Ghana.
That domestic dominance was certainly emphasised this season by Hasaacas’ clean sweep of all major prizes in the Ghanaian club game. Not long after winning the Premier League and the FA Cup (at the direct expense of archrivals Ampem Darkoa Ladies, no less), however, Hasaacas have their sights set on making continental strides.
It’s uncharted territory for them, as it is for all the other African teams seeking to do the same, ahead of the maiden CAF Women’s Champions League finals. And Hasaacas’ first steps towards achieving that objective — taken when the WAFU Zone B qualifying tournament kicked off in Ivory Coast not quite a fortnight ago — were certainly wobbly.
Their opening opponents, Rivers Angels, were daunting enough, and not just because they are from the country that is comfortably Africa’s best in women’s football; Rivers are as peerless in Nigeria as Hasaacas are in Ghana.
They aren’t the most successful team in the Nigerian top-flight’s history — Pelican Stars, on seven titles, claim that distinction — but no side has won more in the last decade.
Further proof of Rivers’ strength is seen in the calibre of players the club has been able to attract and/or produce — including reigning African football queen Asisat Oshoala and Ghana’s very own Elizabeth Addo — but those looking for even more evidence at the ongoing competition haven’t been disappointed.
Rivers have scored a dozen goals — each fetching them a million naira — in three games and conceded just one. Of their challengers thus far, Hasaacas got off easiest, with a 2-0 loss in the first group game. The Sekondi side has since recovered to defeat AS Police (Niger) and US Forces Armees (Burkina Faso) to book one of the two tickets for the showpiece event that comes off later this year (Rivers have the other).
There is a more pressing assignment, though, to which Hasaacas need to give their immediate attention: the final of the aforementioned zonal tournament, come August 5.
It pits them — again — against Rivers, and while the stakes are much lower this time (Hasaacas do not have to win), head coach Yusif Basigi would hope for a keener contest than the earlier meeting.
“We had clear chances to score but, unfortunately, we didn’t utilize them,” Basigi, identifying what cost his team in that first game, told Accra-based Happy FM. “We were in a hurry to score and, as a result, we missed those chances.”
If the improvement sought and being worked on yields a more favourable result, that would lay down a marker ahead of the upcoming Champions League, and it would be very much welcome back home.