Soccer News of Friday, 15 August 2014
Ghana's national U-20 team, the Black Satellites, will attempt to surmount the first of two hurdles when they lock horns with their Gabonese counterparts in the first leg of their final 2015 African Youth Championship (AYC) qualifier at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Coach Sellas Tetteh’s talented side, which will be without the influential Clifford Aboagye, still boasts a lot of talent such as skipper Owusu Bempah of Accra Hearts of Oak, speedster Samuel Afful, New Edubiase United’s Asiedu Attobrah and lanky forward Benjamin Tetteh of Tudu Mighty Jets.
Another interesting aspect to the game is the fact that the Satellites will for the first time this year host a qualifier at the Accra Stadium, following a decision to shift base from the Tamale Sports Stadium because of financial constraints.
But the change in venue does not place the team at a disadvantage, according to Coach Tetteh.
“Football lovers need not to be told; wherever we play in Ghana we are sure that we will get the support we require to achieve the results to aid us qualify. Our preparatory games enabled us to know our strengths and weaknesses and how to improve them,” he said.
“I can confidently say that we are very ready and determined to play Gabon, it is our wish that we will score more goals but any positive result can see us through since you never know what will happen in the return leg.”
The 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup-winning coach added that goalie Michael Sai of Berekum Chelsea was the only injury doubt for Sunday’s tie against Gabon.
Both teams did not participate in the first round of qualifiers for the tournament to be held in Senegal but were involved in the second-round where Gabon saw-off Rwanda with a 1-0 aggregate victory, while the Satellites progressed with an emphatic 4-1 aggregate win over Sierra Leone.
Skipper Bempah also believes that his team would need at least four goals to progress to the finals at the expense of the Gabonese.
“Goals are very important in two-legged ties, we are the home side and if we get at least four goals, a solid defensive display in the second-leg in Gabon will see us through. I assure Ghanaians that we are going to win come Sunday,” he said.
The Satellites, three-time African champions, have been in buoyant mood since the qualifiers began and will be difficult to stop, especially after beating Sierra Leone home and away in the qualifiers, drawing 1-1 with Namibia’s U-23 side in a friendly match, and a 2-1 win over Obuasi-based second division side Young Wise in a warm-up match in Accra.
The return leg will be hosted by Gabon on Friday, August 29 after which the aggregate winner will join seven other teams at the continental championship from March 8-22, 2015.