Sports News of Saturday, 17 November 2012
The Ghana national Under-17 side took a first leg lead in the third and final round of the African Youth Championship qualifying encounter with a 3-2 away win over South Africa at the Sinaba Stadium in Daveyton on Saturday.
Black Starlets’ chances of qualifying for the 10th edition of the African Youth Championship - scheduled to take place in Morocco from April 13-27 – look bright after the defeat of the Amajimbos.
The Ghanaians who were seemingly not fazed by playing away from home showed their intentions as early as the 16th minute when their skipper Thomas Agyapong was put through in a one-on-one situation with Amajimbos goalkeeper Jody February, but the latter pulled off a fantastic save to deny Agyapong.
Agyapong was at it again in the 22nd minute when he dribbled his way into the box down the left, then made a cross and February went down to try make a save, but he missed the ball completely. Shakes Mashaba’s boys survived, though, as Ghana failed to take advantage.
Amajimbos striker Linda Bhengu, tried his luck from distance in the 27th minute, but his shot went wide of goal.
But Ghana showed no sign of letting up when in the 28th minute Moses Odjer let rip from outside the box, but February redeemed himself for his earlier howler by tipping the ball over the crossbar for a corner.
February again saved the South Africans by making another save in the 31st minute after Emmanuel O. Boateng was put through one-on-one with the keeper.
But barely a minute later, Ghana were on the score-sheet. Asare Paul De-Vries capitalised after February mistimed a cross and Asare poked home from close range to put Ghana 1-0 up in the 32nd minute.
The Black Starlets were 2-0 up a couple of minutes later, when David Atanga profited from a defensive blunder by Amajimbos captain Ayabulela Magqwaka, who is in the junior ranks at Ajax Cape Town, to score another one for the Black Starlets.
The score was 2-0 to the Ghanaians at the interval.
Amajimbos returned from the break the better side and in trying to improve from their disastrous first half showing Rivaldo Coetzee made way for Sabelo Malunga in the 54th minute.
They came close to pulling one back in the 59th minute when Tlotlo Leepile shot from long-range, but his attempt flew just over the crossbar.
Amajimbos were not to be denied, though, as they finally got the crowd on their feet in the 64th minute after Morne Nel connected with a cross to score with a header. It was game on.
But the Ghanaians changed tack and they were rewarded in the 81st minute after Paul De-Vries scored with a grass cutter from just outside the box down the right.
Amajimbos striker Siyanda Ngcobo scored at the death after a goal kick by February, but it was too little too late.
The second leg will be in the first week of next month, most likely December 2.
SA U17 XI: Jody February, Kabelo Seriba, Bongane Mathebula, Ayabulela Magqwaka ©, Rivaldo Coetzee (Sabelo Malunga 54th), Nhlakanipho Ntuli, Morne Nel, Bongani Khanyile (Siyanda Ngcobo 48th), Tlotlo Leepile, Ricardo Ndiki, Linda Bhengu.
Ghana U17 XI: Ali Mohammed, Asare Paul De-Vries, Yaw Yeboah (Gideon Waja 63rd), Isaac Twum, Thomas Agyapong © (Emmanuel Oti Essigba 61st), David Atanga, Emmanuel O. Boateng, William Dankyi, Nicholas Opoku, Yakubu Mohammed, Moses Odjer.