The Black Satellites go to the FIFA U-20 World Cup as African champions, credentials strong enough to mark them out among the early favourites. The global youth title, however, is something of a Holy Grail for the African continent, having proven an elusive prize in the past despite many African teams flirting with success in the final stages of the tournament. For the 2009 edition, Ghana will carry the realistic hopes of the continent and hope to enrich an already impressive pedigree at youth level in FIFA tournaments. It will be the Black Satellites have fifth time at the FIFA U-20 World Cup finals, the last time coming in Argentina eight years ago when they finished runners-up.
Ghana won the African Youth Championship in Rwanda in January, beating Cameroon 2-0 in the final. They started the tournament slowly with a 1-1 draw against the Indomitable Lions but then made sure of top spot in their group with wins over Mali and the host nation before beating South Africa 4-2 in the semi-final.
Sellas Tetteh was coach of Ghana's senior side, the Black Stars, when they started the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers last June and was bitterly disappointed to be removed when the Ghana FA appointed Serbian Milovan Rajevac. Tetteh had worked as one of the assistants with the national team during the terms of Claude Le Roy, whose spell culminated with third place at the 2008 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, and Ratomir Dujkovic, when Ghana went to the finals in Germany in 2006 and took charge of the match against Brazil in Dortmund when the Serbian coach was red carded. Tetteh began his coaching career with Ghanaian top flight outfit Liberty Professionals.
Ransford Osei was both the best player at the African Youth Championship in Rwanda and top goal scorer, netting seven times. The Israeli-based striker is one of several players in the Ghana squad who are based at clubs overseas. The side is captained by Dede Ayew, eldest son of former African Footballer of the Year Abedi Pele. Ayew, who plays at Lorient in France, also played for Ghana's senior side at the 2008 CAF Africa Cup of Nations. Others standouts are David Addy (Randers FC, Denmark), Dominic Adiyiah (Fredrikstad, Norway) and Abeiku Quansah (both OG Nice, France) and Jonathan Mensah, who plays at South African club Free State Stars.
What they said...
"For eight years we have not been to the U-20 World Cup so to return as champions of Africa is remarkable. It's gratifying to me that we're not just winning but also doing so by playing beautiful football," Ghana U-20 coach Sellas Tetteh.
|8||Emmanuel AGYEMANG BADU|
|TEIVI Sellas Tetteh|