FIFA World Cup For Sandra Owusu-Ansah, graduation comes with a penalty kick

“We are determined to go for a win in that game as well and then qualify to the next stage hopefully,” Sandra Owusu-Ansah says.

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play Sandra Owusu-Ansah of Ghana looks back towards her team mates before they walk out onto the pitch during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016 Group D match between USA and Ghana at King Abdullah II International Stadium. (Photo by Christopher Lee - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
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AMMAN, October 5, 2016 — Many Ghananians had lost hope in their Black Maidens. The US was expected to steam by the African team and pave their way to the next game against Japan. The last chance for African representation in the rest of the World Cup came down to Sandra Owusu-Ansah.

It was 84th minute of the game. Owusu-Ansah stared down the barrel of the goal against US top goalkeeper Laurel Ivory. And with a few steps and a swift kick to the right corner of the goal, the ball represented a chance for Ghana to take control and taste success. Owusu-Ansah told AIPS Media she and her teammates were determined to come into the game against the United States and win. They were coming off of a devastating 5-0 defeat against Japan.

She was not only dangerous on offense, but also on defense Tuesday against the United States. Some girls on the US were her targets throughout the game. She tells us the coach specifically asked her to mark US numbers 18 and 8, Jaelin Howell and Brianna Pinto, on the pitch.

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“So the coach give a specific rule to play them out of the game,” she explained in Twi through an English translator.

Owusu-Ansah had the whole continent on her shoulders. With Cameroon and Nigeria having a possibly insurmountable obstacle to further qualification, she assured her country and all of Africa her U17s would have one more chance to make something happen. Paraguay is on deck for Saturday.

“We are determined to go for a win in that game as well and then qualify to the next stage hopefully,” she said.

This is not the first time the Ghananian captain has lead the Maidens to victory. Head coach Evans Adotey even confessed to media members that Owusu-Ansah was the best player on the team.

“I know Sandra as a player, who scores, who leads, who if you come to Ghana, the whole sports like Sandra.”

But what about the Sandra without a football? A typical teenager, Owusu-Ansah enjoys music and movies. But her love for football runs deep. Her dad was a goalkeeper, she tells us, and she’s been playing since she was young with international play opportunities the last couple years.

“Outside of football, these days it’s very important to add education to playing,” she said. The Ghana forward attends T.I. Ahmadiyya Secondary School in Kumasi Amas, Ghana. She’s got one more year until graduation. She smiled when AIPS inquired about her desire to play for a US university.

The guardian of Ghana, the savior for Africa in this World Cup, now has Paraguay in her view, the last hurdle to Round 1 of the U17 World Cup. Class is now in session.

Credit: [Jillian Angeline, AIPS Young Reporter, USA]

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