FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 Group A: All you need to know about Team Ghana
As the countdown to this year’s mega event continues on its merry way we at Lntup.com have been regularly following you up every minute detail of each of the 24 teams about to take part in this football extravaganza. Hopefully we will be able to furnish all the relevant information and perform a thorough in depth analysis of all the nations competing for the World Cup title. Since we have already updated you regarding the other three teams of Group A, we shift our attention to the probable dark horses hailing from this group, the Ghana U-17 national side.
Relevant squad info and much more
Nickname: The Black Starlets
First international: Ghana 1-1 Nigeria (1986)
Association: Ghana Football Association
Biggest win: Ghana 7-0 Tunisia (1995)
Biggest defeat: Ghana 1-5 Nigeria (2013)
Head Coach: Paa Kwasi Fabin
Number of World Cup participations : 9 (first in 1989)
FIFA code: GHA
Best result: Winners (1991,1995)
FIFA U-17 World Cup record and their past laurels
The 90’s were indeed a remarkable period for the Black Starlets since they lifted the World Cup twice in four years and this marked the beginning of an era which brought to the fore the likes of Stephen Appiah, Michael Essien, Asamoah Gyan and Samuel Kuffour who later went on to successfully represent their senior national team as well. Nigeria are the reigning champions (they won the title in 2015) but to their sheer disappointment they could not even get past the qualifying stages this time round. So this just reveals the lack of consistency these African countries suffer from when it comes to the highest stage and Ghana itself illustrates the situation perfectly as they have been the prime victims of this inconsistency disease off late (2017 is their first World cup participation in almost nearly six years).
Since those golden days there has been a significant dip in the country’s performances in this competition except from being semi-finalists in 2007 (where they lost to Spain on penalties and got knocked out). Till then the Ghanians have had a barren run in this tournament, reaching the global showpiece just twice in seven attempts.
Road to India and brief description of their journey
The two-time champions eventually reached their first U-17 World Cup after nearly a decade at pretty topsy-turvy circumstances. After clinching a narrow victory over Burkina Faso in a gruelling encounter (they did manage to win by the slightest margin of 6-5 on aggregate) in the second round of qualification, they saw off Cote d’Ivoire to sail through to the CAF Africa U-17 Cup of Nations in Gabon.
But after they gained momentum in this campaign easing past the likes of Cameroon and host nation Gabon with convincing margins of 4-0 and 5-0 respectively Ghana were the first African team to board the plane to India this October. However this sudden burst of form dried up pretty quickly as they were unable to score in all of their following three games, with draws against Guinea in their final group game and a win against Nigeria in the semi final on penalties and eventually losing out to Mali in the final by 1-0.
Head Coach, his tactics and the style he prefers to display
Former Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak (two well known clubs of Ghana) coach Paa Kwasi Fabin got the reigns of this side in October 2011, which signifies that it has been his third attempt to qualify for the prestigious crown and he would definitely not let go this opportunity without making ammends for the previous editions. However despite the team’s strong show at Gabon earlier this year he has hinted at bringing about some altercations in the squad.
“We will surely make some additions to the squad before the World Cup. We had some of the guys who got injured which prevented them from joining the team in Gabon.We hope to get these boys and we will do a bit of scouting to get a few others as well”, he said in an official press release a few months back. High pressing physical football with strong back four and two box to box midfielders and poacher alike strikers upfront is his most preferred style of display.
Players who can share the maximum limelight
As much as 25 players have been called up by coach Fabin last month to join the National U-17 team camp which began in full motion a few weeks back. They have already commenced their preparation for the World Cup in October and most of the players who have been invited (14 out of 21) were part of the squad that featured in the country’s qualifying phase. Now as per media reports back in the country the main threat that Ghana possess is in the form of their youth striker duo of Ibrahim Sulley (New Life Fc) and Nathaniel Opoku Oniyah (Sporting Club Accra).
These two share bulk of the responsibilities upfront and get along pretty well on the pitch, they scored between them as much as 7 out of their 9 goals in Gabon in the qualifiers helping the team to make a second place finish in the tournament. They both possess a handful of tricks and brisk pace is just an added advantage to that. However the likes of Eric Ayiah (Charity Stars Striker) and Mohammed Iddriss Cheetah (New Life Fc Midfielder) also don’t lag behind in terms of scoring and can ideally play second fiddle behind the duo.
Author’s take on Team Ghana
Coach Fabin has already raised some speculations following the exclusion of some of the most obvious names from his wish list for the World Cup. Conspicuously missing are playmaker Emanuel Toku, centre-back Faisal Oman and goal keeper Danlad Ibrahim who were regular starters at the AFCON. Instead he has suggested a bunch of new faces who will be joining the national squad shortly for their preparation. Thus the management is not at all reluctant to make bold decisions at crucial times and whether this can possibly reap results, that only time will tell. We therefore wish all the best to the Black Starlets to hit the competition up and running from the very beginning.