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Review: The rise and rise of Aggrey Memorial A.M.E Zion

Basketballghana.com editor Patrick Akoto looks back at the 2010 Sprite Ball Championship and says the young girls from Aggrey Memorial A.M.E Zion may still be struggling to find the winning mentality against ever-impressive Sacred Heart but reckons they’re coming of age.

Wesley Girls Senior High used to be the house hold name as far as the competition is concerned and the mere mentioning of their name sends shivers down the spines of opponents.

They had remained a dominant force in the Central region and have in their tales two National title in the most sought after basketball competition among the youth in the West African county.

The name of the young girls from Wesley Girls had almost become synonymous with the Sprite Ball Championship and many would have refused to accept if a clairvoyant has informed them their reign was about to go down crushing at the least expected time.

In simply terms Wesley Girls has enjoyed an incredible run in the region despite few setbacks but when you looked at their overall display they could easily be rated at the zenith in one of Ghana’s historically endowed region.

The likes of Gifty Dedeo Nyarko, Coretta Hanson and others have improved so much that they looked like an unconquerable team until a certain Dyllis Achiaa and her colleagues from Aggrey Memorial A.M.E. Zion began to take the mantra to their rivals at a time that they were on cloud nine.

And for two years the school which is located at the heart of Cape Coast township have remained the enviable side in the Sprite Ball Championship with amazing technique that continue to thrill followers of the game in Ghana.

With determination, commitment and hard work, the technical staff of the basketball team has managed to form a formidable squad in the girls division who continue to chalk laurels in the region for the past two years.

Admittedly the boys’ basketball team has not managed to emulate the shining example of their opposite mate and that perhaps remain one of the ‘mystery’ that I will need to unravel in the next couple of days

They’ve simply flopped in previous attempt at the championship and their best performance so far in the region was their quarter-final berth at the 2010 edition of the competition.

But I will leave the sad commentary of the boys for now. We’ll talk about their lack of team spirit and attitude and their inability to hold on to a winning mentality in the not too-distant future.

For now their girls remain my cardinal focus.

I wouldn’t want to bother you with so much history and that’s why I will love to restrict myself to their exploits in 2009 and then most ‘importantly’ 2010 in the Sprite Ball Championship.

When I saw their first game against Holy Child at the Schools and Colleges Park at Cape Coast   at the 2009 Central regional finals, I could only imagine it was more of a fluke display and possibly a lucky performance.

But they made me eat humble pie in their subsequent games displaying sheer brilliance on the court with Kissiwaa Sosu, Barbara Akugree (Tilly), Iddrisu Ajata and of course captain Dyllis Achiaa well in control of a game that saw them also beat Insaaniya, Wesley Girls and Apam Senior High respectively to lift the trophy for the first time.

It was a well-worked and determined performance from the young talented players who were eager to turn instant heroes in their school.

And rightly their performance earned rave reviews in the region.

They continued their wonderful performance at the grand-finale and came close to winning it in their first attempt.

Of course the very experienced Sacred Heart ensured they beat their opponent to ink the trophy from their jaws. It was a painful but gallant display from the young girls.

Winning a title is not difficult but the ability to retain it is the most grueling part of the task and therefore when Aggrey came into the 5th edition of the competition, pundits booked them as the favourite for the title.

May be because they were the defending champions and in major competitions like this one the champions are normally rated among the contenders for the title.

They qualified from their zonal base with cheeky ease but came into the knockout phase knowing they were going to meet the crème de crème in the region.

And yes they did match up to the expectations with a sweet flowing game. And their performance was summed up by a panelist on Basketball TV, Sandy Asiedu: ‘I’ve had the opportunity of watching most of the schools in the other regions and I can comfortably say that the Aggrey girls have learnt the basic rudiment of the game’.

That should make up for how far the team has grown in the competition.

They once again showed pure magic in lifting the trophy for the second successive time and sweet it was because for the second time running Wesley Girls played second fiddle to them in the regional competition. They lost grounds to Kasoa-based Insaaniya in the one-day competition but that was still enough for them to come out tops.

The girls’ basketball team has now become one of the powerhouses of the game in Ghana and despite their defeat in the National event to Sacred Heart, they’ve carved an inch for themselves and the performance of the young players will forever be cherished.

They could have even beating the Accra –based side but for the unfortunate decision of their coach to allow her players to take the game to their experienced opponent at a time that they were leading comfortably.

He got his tactics wrong and that moment of ‘madness’ cost his team. Nevertheless they will live to fight another day.

What’s also your opinion on the performance of Aggrey Memorial for the past two years in the Sprite Ball Championship…. Pls feel free and let hear them…. Let agree to disagree.

Sprite Ball Championship 2010 is brought to you by Sprite, Freedom from thirst and supported by Indomie Instant Noodles- tastes great and DDP Outdoor. Media partners TV Africa, Graphic Sports, Today’s news paper, Ghana sports news paper and powered by Rite Multimedia- Leaders in basketball development & promotion in Ghana.

By: Patrick Akoto

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One comment

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