Ghana's players might still be acclimatising to the unfamiliar conditions in China, but for one of their number, the culture shock experienced here in the Far East may prove insignificant compared to what awaits her next month.

It is then, at the start of the British academic year - and just as winter approaches - that striker Rumanatu Tahiru will undertake the 3,500-mile journey to begin a three-year university course and a new football adventure in the English city of Hull. The 23-year-old's destination might be considerably less well known in football circles than its northern neighbours such as Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle, but second tier Hull City's recent signing of Jay-Jay Okocha did succeed in grabbing headlines in Africa, where the University of Hull has long held strong links.

Recently, those ties were strengthened further when the Ghana FA invited the university's football development manager, former England U-21 international Graham Potter, to become technical director for the Black Queens' FIFA Women's World Cup campaign. Potter has travelled to China with Dr Rick Lovell of the university's sport science department, and the pair will in turn, return to Hull with a companion after Tahiru accepted the institution's offer of a scholarship.

"She's starting in October, which will be brilliant," Potter explained, "and anything we can do to build up this relationship with Ghana can only be very beneficial. The guy who set it up, Matthew Hornshaw (of the university's international office), is a real football man and he's in this for the right reasons. I'm positive that Ghana will benefit, and I'm sure the profile of the university will too. The fact that FIFA.com are talking to me about this proves that point, I'd say."

Still just 32, the former West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City and Southhampton defender is the first foreigner to be involved with the Black Queens' technical staff, and Potter admits that, until very recently, he would have seriously questioned the sanity of anyone suggesting he might travel to a FIFA World Cup under the Ghanaian banner. "I never expected to be experiencing anything like this, absolutely not," he admitted. "It goes to show you just how amazing football can be at times."

Rewards on and off the pitch
Potter's relationship with Ghana first began when he travelled to the west African nation to educate their up-and-coming coaches on methods being employed by England's elite clubs. So impressed were the Ghana FA that, as well as sending their administration manager to Hull for a year-long course in business management, they also committed to taking the Black Queens to Potter for a pre-China 2007 tune-up.

Fred Crentsil, Ghana's head of women's football, explains: "Together with the university, we looked at ways we could collaborate and decided that it would be good to a training programme together. That's how it all started, and it was decided that we would take the team over for a couple of weeks while the students were off campus. The girls were shown round the facilities, went through a training programme, did a lot of sports science work on their stamina and endurance, and I believe the university have been doing a lot of research that can help both them and us. While we were there, we also played Leeds United, who we beat 3-2.

"In fact, I think that when Rumanatu goes to Hull, she will play in the English women's league with Leeds because that is quite close to the university. I believe she would also play for the university team, so as well as the academic benefits, you would have her receiving an excellent British football education." Crentsil is anxious, however, not to downplay the seriousness with which the Ghanaians and Tahiru in particular is approaching the issue of her studies. "That side of things is very important to us," he said.

"We are now looking for more academically-qualified girls to play in the national team because we have come to realise that those girls who have gone to school or university find it a lot easier to assimilate the coach's instructions. Those who don't have a proper education tend to have problems, particularly the ones who don't speak English. If we can start by educating them, even at a general level, I am sure that you will see a real improvement in the intelligence of their play on the field.

"That's very important to us, particularly with our women. We have some very talented young girls coming through, with a superb team at U-14s, and our programme now starts at U-12s, so women's football is a side of Ghanaian football we really want to see come to the fore."