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Sports News of Friday, 5 March 2021

Source: Happy 98.9FM

FLASHBACK: Black Satellites wins second Africa Youth Championship in Accra

The Black Satellites after winning their first African Youth Championship in 1993 had to wait until 1999 to win their second when Ghana hosted the tournament.

The Ghanaians finished first in group A ahead of Cameroon, Mali and Angola.

They began their campaign with a 1-0 victory over Mali in Accra, before thrashing Angola 5- 0 at the same venue.

In their third match, the Satellites play 1-1 draw with Cameroon to finish on top of the group setting up a semifinal clash with Zambia whom they beat 3- 1 at the Accra Sports stadium.


Accra exploded with spontaneous joy and firecrackers when Laryea Kingston’s 40th-minute goal propelled Ghana to a 1-0 victory over Nigeria to re-emerge as champions of Africa Under -20 football.

It was an electrifying encounter between two of Africa’s proudest soccer nations: Nigeria seeking a fifth coronation at this level in African football and Ghana seeking to reclaim the championship they won in Mauritius in 1993.

Experts, including the Nigerian coach Tunde Disu had labelled it the dream final long before it arrived.

The Accra sports stadium was filled to capacity including President J. J. Rawlings as well as FIFA and CAF presidents.

Ghana shot into a swift attacking game from kick-off, using Baffour Gyan and Aziz Ansah to create openings into the Nigerian defence.

It was already a strong striking force on the right frequently joined by Owusu Afriyie who played at the top of the attack to keep Nigerian full-back Ikenna Eneh under severe pressure.

Returning the attack Nigeria also proved strong on the right where Pius Ikedia proved a tough customer for Ghana’s Hamza Mohammed.

The early attacks and counter-attacks looked like favouring Ghana in the 10th minute when Afriyie fell deep to help in defence.

He won the ball launched a solo run into the Nigerian defence but when the crowd rose in anticipation of a goal, defender Emmanuel Izuagha scooped the ball across the goal line for a corner kick.

The Satellites did not relent in attack and came close again in the 25th minute when goalkeeper Sam Okoye stretched full length to grab Gyan’s cross before tormentor Afriyie could get his head to it.

The action, almost entirely restricted to the Nigerian half of the field, goalkeeper Sammy Adjei was enjoying a complete holiday when Ikedia’s grounder and Rabiu Afolabi’s long cross called him to duty in the 30th and 33rd minutes.

In the 34th minute, however, Sammy Adjei was actually beaten but Nigeria’s roaring supporters watched in agony as their finest opportunity headed by Gariba Hashimu rolled over the goal line for a goal kick.

As the action intensified on both sides with Ghana having the better part of the exchanges, the Satellites switched the attack to the left where Johnson Eklu showed great form.

In the 39th minute, Eklu switched into high gear racing along the left flank and floated a shot across the goal area which strangely caught the Flying Eagles standing and watching for Laryea Kingston to put Ghana up with a turning shot.

The celebration which followed was the kind of atmosphere Nigeria coach Tunde Disu had expected in his long-cherished dream final against Ghana, but certainly not such absolute Ghanaian first-half dominance.

Just before halftime, substitute Theophilus Amuzu joined Johnson Eklu and Baffour Gyan in a swift three-man move that confounded the Nigerian defence.

But when the final chance fell for Gyan to put Ghana up by a second goal, he blew it over the bar.

Early in the second half, Nigeria were the aggressors moving fast to reverse the fortunes of the first.

Within one minute they came close but two misdirected headers in the 48th and 49th minutes robbed them the chance to come to terms with the Satellites.

The two chances each headed by Hashimu Gariba and Babangida, the pressure continued to mount on Ghana with only brief moments of reprieve.

In two of those moments, Baffour Gyan had his grounders saved by Okoye in the Nigerian posts in the 52nd and 54th minutes.

A Nigeria counter-attack initiated by a long cross from Ikenna on the left and headed by Rabiu Afolabi actually hit the Ghanaian net but was ruled offside.

After a brief protest, the Nigerian players relaunched their attack taking an emphatic control of the game with tremendous cheers from their tireless supporters.

While the heat was on the Satellites, the home crowd breathed a huge sigh of relief in the 84th minute when coach Disu pulled out his most dangerous weapon and the Ghanaians’ biggest headache, Haruna Babangida, replacing him with Joseph Yobo.

That was the clearest sign that the battle had been lost. And when Ghana also brought on Awuley Quaye Jnr for Johnson Eklu in the 88th minute, both changes could not alter the scores till Moroccan referee Mohammed Guezzaz’s final whistle.

CAF President Issa Hayatou, FIFA boss Sepp Blatter and President J. J. Rawlings took turns to decorate Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana with the bronze, silver and gold medals respectively.

Ghana Line-up: Sammy Adjei, Baffour Gyan, Issah Rahman/Theophilus Amuzu, Abdul Razak, Hamza Mohammed (C), Kofi Amoako/ Emmanuel Adjogu, Aziz Ansah, Laryea Kingston, Johnson Eklu/ Awuley Quaye Jnr, George Blay, Owusu Afriyie.

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