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Soccer News of Friday, 23 March 2012

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Ghana seal FIFA U-17 World Cup place

Ghana beat South Africa 5-1 to pick up the first African qualifying ticket to the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup on Friday.

Alberta Yao’s hat-trick and a brace in the second half strike by captain Priscilla Okyere were enough to undo the opener by Mosili Makhoali. Ghana, thus make it a third straight qualification to the World Cup.

Both team played out a goalless draw in Daveyton two weeks ago but the Black Maidens on the final day of the second round fixture at the Accra Sports Stadium proved strong enough for the Bantwanas as they rallied from a goal down to claim their place in the finals in Azerbaijan later in September this year.

Makhoali drew first blood after six minutes for the visitors to silence the home crowd but just after restarting the game, Alberta equalized for the Black Maidens.

Ghana had chances to jump into the lead but the final touch always robbed coach Mas-Ud Didi Dramani’s ladies a sight of goal.

The South Africans looked comfortable with a superior goal difference knowing a draw would be enough to see them through as the contest neared the closing stages of the first half.

But Alberta Yao popped up to score her second on 43 minutes and celebrated grabbing a hat-trick when her strike beat goalkeeper Katlego Moletsane to hand Ghana a 3-1 lead a minute into injury time of the first half.

Back from the break, Ghana were quick from the blocks, pressing the South Africans high up the field.

Eight minutes game, the Black Maidens scored their fourth goal through Okyere.

Okyere was not finished when she unleashed a 30 yard shot on the stroke of full-time to cap a wonderful performance to wrap up qualification.

The two other qualifying slots from the continent will be decided after the ties between Tunisia v Gambia and Zambia v Nigeria this weekend.