The Swiss has signed on as the head coach of Ghana’s senior women’s team.

  • The 39-year-old Nora Hauptle has replaced an underperforming Mercy Quarcoe Tagoe
  • Hauptle has previously coached the Israel national women’s team
  • Ghana are aiming to qualify for the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations

Mercy Quarcoe Tagoe’s days as the head coach of the Ghana national women’s team were numbered as soon as the Black Queens, as they are known colloquially, shockingly missed out on a place in the Morocco-held Women’s Africa Cup of Nations 2022. The once mighty team had stooped lower and lower with each passing year until they found themselves so far detached from the top pedestal of African women’s football that those with a vested interest knew nothing short of a complete overhaul would stop the stagnation. Ghana were among the top women’s sides on the continent once. Akin to their male counterparts, the Black Queens enjoyed a golden period from 1995 to 2007, an era that yielded three successive FIFA Women’s World Cup appearances and six top-four finishes at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.

Nora Hauptle during her stint with the Ghana women’s team.

The lull arrived out of nowhere. Barring a third-place finish in 2016, Ghana women’s team failed to move past the group stage in four editions of the WAFCON since 2006. In 2012 and 2022, they fell at the first hurdle of qualification for the finals itself – a disaster by all means for a football-crazy nation. By the time the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup arrives, Ghana’s barren run in the competition would’ve stretched to two decades. A fresh perspective, a jolt of energy, and a knowledgeable mind beaming with new ideas are what the football federation of Ghana believe is required to rescue the women’s team from its downward spiral. Enter Nora Hauptle. The 39-year-old Swiss tactician is a former footballer and has represented her nation in matches from 1996 until 2010. As a player, Nora Hauptle played for BSC Young Boys, FFC Zuchwil 05, FC Twente Enschede, and FC Thun before moving out to the sidelines in her first coaching gig at Thun. Despite her relatively young age, Nora Hauptle has a plethora of experience and knowledge working as a coach. Her education includes a Masters in Sports Sciences, a Bachelor’s in Philosophy, a Minor in Theater Sciences, and several other diploma certificates, all of which help her get the best out of her players. Meanwhile, her experience as a coach has ranged from training the Switzerland U-19 women’s team and the Israel national women’s team to even the tennis player Romina Oprandi! “She is meticulous, ambitious, has a clear game idea, sees many details and can convey them to the players. She does a lot of things particularly well,” said Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, the current Germany national women’s team head coach, of Hauptle while working alongside her at the Swiss FA. Voss-Tecklenburg’s words, printed by the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger on the eve of the 2018 UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship, a tournament in which Hauptle coached the Swiss U-19 side, painted a picture of a trainer considered to be among the best up-and-comers in the football world — men or women.

Nora Hauptle instructs the Ghana players during a practice session.

Hauptle’s association with Ghana stretches beyond her appointment as the national women’s team head coach after the turn of the year. In 2022, she acted as an advisor to the coaching team of the Ghana U-20 women’s team for their FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica. Now at the helm of the senior team, Nora Hauptle, along with her assistants Joyce Boatye-Agyei and Aboagye Dacosta, has called up two batches of players — 47 and 46, respectively — to train and select for the upcoming WAFU-B Women’s Cup, which will take place in 2023. Her first big target, however, will be the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, a tournament which, with the right kind of spirited performance, can help Ghana restore some of their pride.

©FIFA Akshat Mehrish / 07.03.2023