Ghana volleyball women team defeated Ivory Coast 3-1 in the opening game of the 2018 FIVB Women World Championship qualifying tournament in Abidjan on Friday.
The Black Queens arrived in the country by road from Accra only hours before the game but were able to surmount their fatigue and walk away with maximum points in their first game of the qualifiers.
After a low-key opening ceremony, the game went underway with the Ghanaians evincing more determination despite a huge local support for the host side.
Ivory Coast apparently had a better physical team but on the court the Ghanaians were more athletic, winning more balls, attacking with superior quality and committing fewer errors.
The set ended 17-25 in favour of Ghana, who forced the opposing side to begin doubting their capabilities even when there was ample time to recover.
The second set began in a slightly balanced tempo but the visitors (Ghana) quickly rode their counter to a distant length putting the pressure on Ivory Coast who fell in the trap and began to commit awful fouls in the midst of nervousness.
Ghana emerged winners of the second set 16-25 and went into the third with a resounding confidence which was quickly punctured by a resurgent Ivorian team who, buoyed by drums and chants from home supporters, found their rhythm; thanks to fatigue the Ghanaian women were struggling to overcome.
The hosts snatched a 25-16 score in the third set, setting the stage for an explosive fourth set, which Ghana surprisingly won.
Many people felt it was time to bury the dying Ghanaian team but they recovered, realising countless blocks.
However, the fourth set was well fought out but it went to Ghana 18-25, concluding the game at 3-1 in favour of the Black Queens who will face Nigeria on Saturday at 6pm Ivorian time (7pm Nigerian time).
Pictures from the game: