After seeing us go two wins in a row, with a 2-1 win over Essiam Socrates Ladies to hit our 4th place target in the Malta Guinness Women’s Premier League, Coach Paul Freeman Amponsah was in good form in his post-match interview with www.berryladiesfcgh.com.
Here is everything he had to say:
on the importance of this result after Army Ladies FC’s defeat:
What we can control is what we can do. We’ve been discussing that for the last few days. I think they were exceptional, but Hasaacas Ladies Fc are a hard side to defeat, they were really at it, everyone wanted to be involved and they lost the game, which is good as it will close the garb and the only thing that we can control is to continue to win all our games.
on Jafaru Rahama’ contribution:
I’m delighted for her. They were all clapping for her and she’s been working so hard the last three months with a lot of support obviously from the team and the staff. Today she deserved the chance to continue to prove why she is one of the best in women football in Ghana and she grabbed the opportunity with a lot of conviction and scoring 1 very important goal to add up to her 3 goals since her signing in January.
on his message to the players at half-time:
Well, the first thing is that we had to improve. Obviously, the way that they set up, they were really man-marking our attacking midfielders and they played with four really fast players to cut us in transition. We started to lose the ball in areas that we cannot do against a team that wants to defend that way. We improved that a lot, we exploited all of the spaces and we changed a little bit the shape and position of a few players, and we were more fluid attacking in the final third very close to the box with good numbers and good positions. We looked a threat.
on Portia Sakyiwaa having injury issues before and after the game:
She had some issues as well in the last few days but she’s a big fighter and she wanted to be here. Obviously with the injury of Diana Wiege, we are short in that position, and she contributed to the goals as well, which is good news for her, and she was very good again.
on whether in his wildest dreams he could have imagined Elizabeth Ayebea playing so well:
I have very wild dreams! No, seriously, we knew about her quality and what she could bring to the team. We are really pleased with her, she can play on the right back, she can play on the left back, she can play as an attacking midfielder etc. she’s really contributing to the team, and she really takes a lot of responsibility in games to make things happen and we love that.
on Victoria Salifu’s attacking runs:
As a manager when she puts the ball in the back of the net it’s great, but if she doesn’t and then on the counter we have an open space, I’m not so happy. But she’s timing those runs very well and she’s a threat to the defends. Even on set pieces, she’s improved a lot to be more dangerous and to drive more attention to the opponent. I’m really pleased with her and hopefully she will get back her scoring vibes.
on the fluidity within our frontline:
We have players now who need a little bit of space and freedom and those interactions I think contribute to the team and make the opponent more conscious and worried about those rotations. It’s a little more difficult for them to defend and they also like it, they feel better, they feel free doing it and they have our blessing to do it, but we hope to one day add a dangerous attacker to help the frontline.
on creating a culture where a player always steps up:
First of all the players have to feel trust, and we trust them. They need to feel that confidence, and the players have to prepare in the right way when they have the chance, like Regina Donkor did, and to actually perform. The way they challenge themselves and support each other is exceptional, so I’m not surprised about it. It’s not easy to throw Regina Donkor into this level after months of inactivity at the start of the season but she was really, really good again today and I am happy because we need everyone. We had injuries unfortunately in the last few months, long-term injuries, and the team somehow has to find a way to keep winning and keep performing. It’s great to see that.
on the difference the atmosphere is making:
The crowd transmits energy and belief and love to the players and unconditional support. Today is another example; when we conceded the goal the reaction of the crowd was to cheer the team and that is rare to see in any stadium and is an exceptional response. Stay with us – we are so excited and we want to go for it. Focus on the next game and put all the energy there.
on how we’re shutting out the nerves:
Just enjoy the moment that we are in. We have three games to go but [on Wednesday] we have a training session that is going to enable us to be better as a team, and if we go through the journey day by day, when the game comes we are in a state of mind and you are really looking forward to it. You have oxygen to grab instead of gasping, and we just want that energy and belief. We go to the next target, and we go for it.
on if he enjoys the games:
I do, and now more than before.
on if the wins feel like cup final victories:
No, they feel like just another game. It feels like the next training session, and we go again to the next game. Finals are played in May/June that is if we remain in the top 4!
on getting Jafaru, Daniela, Portia and Jacqueline into goalscoring positions:
Yes, especially here [points to head] because when you think you are going to score, you score and then you believe in the next game that you are going to score. It was a great finish, great assists and contributions and great timing, so I’m happy for them. [The midfield] needs to contribute to the team with goals and I really believe in this team more than ever.
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