Black Queens can grow after AWCON disappointment

Grace Asantewaa of Ghana during the 2018 TOTAL African Womens Cup of Nations Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Ghana winger Sherifatu Sumaila is optimistic of a bright future for the Black Queens, despite exiting the Africa Women Cup of Nations at the group stage.

Hosts Ghana finished third in Group A with four points, missing out to eventual semi-finalists Cameroon and Mali.

21-year-old Sumaila, who was one of the Ghanaians who impressed in coach Bashir Hayford's failed quest to secure a World Cup ticket for the first time since 2007, believes the team didn't do themselves justice.

"I know we could have done better," Sherifatu told ESPN. "We have a quality team, we have a great team spirit.

"We gave 100 percent of our abilities, but we lacked that needed touch to make it [out of the group]."

Sumaila is well aware of the disappointment the Queens' 1-1 draw against Cameroon prompted among her compatriots, who had been hoping to see the hosts enjoy a deep run into the competition.

"It's disappointing to host a major tournament and exit so early," the 21-year-old noted. "I'm disappointed, my colleagues are disappointed.

"We did our best to make Ghanaians proud, we did our best to host and win, but our best wasn't enough to reach the World Cup or win the trophy."

However, the youngster is confident that there's more to come from Hayford's side.

"I think in the next two years, we could be much stronger," she added. "We are young and can improve.

"For the first time playing for the senior women's team and in the AWCON, I realized that there are a lot of bigger fish in the pond, which is a motivation for me to work even harder.

"I have the urge to become better, to take my game to the next level. Playing these high-profile games will offer me a quicker development because I have to keep up with the good, stronger players in an environment designed to test me.

"While playing this tournament, I am exposed to a faster paced, more experienced game. I have to develop my understanding of the game faster to stand a chance.

"Playing in competitive games and tournaments, I will be more likely to get noticed."