How Ghana’s women beach volleyball team made it against all odds

Ghana’s women’s beach volleyball team will make a debut at the Commonwealth Games against Canada on Saturday, but its journey to the event has been far from easy.

Just a few weeks before the team left for Birmingham, the aura at the training centre at the Laboma Beach Resort in Accra was devoid of enthusiasm, coupled with the uncertainty of what might ensue at the games and sparse support from the government.

For a team preparing for its first major event, the mood was one of despondency, mainly because its stipend by the government for the camp had yet to arrive.

This was not the first time the team had received a financial blow. As a result, motivation was low, with the scorching summer sun adding to the woes.

Ranked 104th in the world, Ghana have been drawn in Pool A alongside Canada, gold medallists at the inaugural beach volleyball event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Kenya and New Zealand.

The team had booked its place at the event after a hard-fought battle with the best from the continent.

Juliana Otcherewaa and Rashaka Katadat fought bravely to seal the team’s place at the event, getting the better of stiff opponents like Nigeria, Seychelles, Kenya and Mauritius.

“The qualification wasn’t easy but we did it with determination,” Otcherewaa said. “I told my partner that we’ve sacrificed a lot for this extent so we need to give it our all and do the best.”

Even being able to qualify for the Commonwealth Games surprised Katadat.“These emotions were mainly because the preparations for the qualifiers were abysmal. There was no support, no sponsors, nothing. Not even transportation fare but we saw it from the perspective that we were doing it for ourselves so whether support came in or not, we proceeded.”

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