The 11th Africa Women Soccer Cup of Nations, officially known as the Total Women’s Africa Cup of Nations or Ghana 2018, is slated to take off in some 72 hours from now.
The biennial international football championship, organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for the women’s national teams of Africa, and which is slated for Accra and Cape Coast from 17th November to 1st December 2018, also doubles as the African qualifiers to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup as the top three teams will automatically qualify for the World Cup in France.
Ever since the country won the hosting rights in 2016, the football authorities, particularly the Local Organizing Committee had boasted that everything was in place for a historic event.
Interestingly, as the kickoff date draws near, one can hardly say that the nation had been psyched enough to host the continent for the tournament.
Yes, the Accra and Cape Coast stadia are in shape for the tournament, and Coach Bashir Hayford has also named his squad and played a couple of friendlies, but it appears there is nothing else to show in terms of fever and fanfare that characterizes such continental events.
Observers have opined that, if there is a place for logic in football, then this is an opportunity for Coach Bashir Hayford and the Black Queens also make history as the third team to host and win the trophy.
Other people who have the eyes of business also claim that, apart from capitalizing on home advantage to win the trophy for the first time, there are other benefits for the country. This may include improving upon the nation’s sports infrastructural deficit and getting some boost to the currency trough the hospitality and transport sectors. The national image is also an issue to consider as something that can be enhanced through AWCON.
Sadly however, barely three days to the commencement of the historic tournament, there are no visible billboards in town (apart from a few flexi-banners) to catch the attention of visitors to our country regarding the tournament. Worse of all, we cannot point to a single video advertisement or promo heralding the very event we claimed we had prepared for.
As we speak, majority of Ghanaians say they have not heard of the official jingle for the tournament, let alone seeing the official mascot. One would have expected that, by now the streets of Accra would have been bustling with traders selling t-shirts, jerseys and other paraphernalia, but there is nothing of the sort. In fact, the media landscape is so ‘dry’ that there is a standing humour making the rounds that the upcoming National Democratic Congress (NDC) conference has gained more media traction than AWCON.
THE PUBLISHER will like to call on the LOC and other stakeholders to sit up, lest we welcome our queens with empty stadia.
Let us put the issues of protests and demonstrations behind us and make AWCON our priority of priorities.
We can talk about KNUST and Adenta after the tournament.