Ghana missed out on gold at the CAF African U-17 championship in Togo but should still be among the main contenders at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in South Korea. The west African country has a long and impressive record of success at junior level and will travel to Asia confident of continuing that.
This will be Ghana's eighth appearance at a FIFA U-17 World Cup, a tournament the Black Starlets have won twice before, in Italy in1991 and then in Ecuador four years later. Their triumph in 1991 was only the second time an Africa team had succeeded in winning a world title, following on from Nigeria's success in their inaugural FIFA U-16 World Cup in China PR in 1985.
At one stage, Ghana had qualified for six FIFA U-17 World Cups in a row from 1989 to 1999, but they then endured a period of exile that only ended in Peru two years ago. Ghana have also won two African under-17 championships to ratchet up a dominant position in African youth football, alongside fellow west Africans Nigeria who are also going to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in South Korea.
Ghana's place at FIFA U-17 World Cup in South Korea was sealed when they finished second in their opening round group at the eight-team African U-17 championship in Togo in March. The Ghanaians competed in a section with Burkina Faso, Eritrea and Nigeria, and after their opening two games were assured of their progress to the final four - and a place at the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The Black Starlets beat Burkina Faso 3-1 in their opening match thanks largely to a double from Ishmael Yartey, and three days later they stuck six without reply past the hapless Eritreans. Goals from Ransford Osei, Abeiku Quansah and Yartey came before Saddick Adam took the game by the scruff of the neck, grabbing a hat-trick for himself.
Ghana's final group game was a 2-0 loss to Nigeria, the eventual winners, although the Black Starlets went in weakened after coach Fred Osam Duodu decided to rest key players ahead of the semifinals. Duodo's side then lost 2-1 to hosts Togo in the last four but claimed bronze with a 1-0 victory over Tunisia in the third-place play-off, Adam scoring the only goal.
To reach the African U-17 championship, Ghana had endured a tricky qualification campaign that beat Guinea 4-2 on aggregate and then squeeze past Côte d'Ivoire on the away goals rule.
Following the resignation of Fred Osam Duodu with little over six weeks to go until Korea 2007, Ghanaian chiefs had no hesitation in handing the reins back to Sellas Tettah. The acting assistant to senior Ghanaian national team boss Claude Le Roy, Tettah readily agreed to take charge of his country's U-17 side in the Far East, before returning to his role with the Black Stars after the tournament.
Having been head coach Jones Attuquayefio's right-hand man when the Black Starlets claimed bronze at the FIFA U-17 World Cup New Zealand 1999, and guided the side outright in 2002, Tetteh is certainly not lacking in experience. Renowned as a shrewd tactician, his first task will be to navigate Ghana beyond a group which contains Germany, Colombia and Trinidad and Tobago.
Kelvin Owusu Bossman is the only foreign-based player in Ghana's squad and has been part of the Black Starlets set up since their early qualifying campaign. He plays for English Premiership outfit Reading, where he is tipped to make a breakthrough into the first team squad in the not-too-distant future.
|19||Abdul Naza ALHASSAN|
|TEIVI Sellas Tetteh|