Ghana’s Black Satellites coach Karim Zito will be eyeing qualification to next year’s U-20 African Championship when his side face their Nigerien counterparts today in the semi-finals of the U-20 WAFU Zone B tournament with one of two tickets to the biennial youth competition up for grabs.
Even though Zito set a target of winning the trophy, it will first involve defeating the ‘Menas’ to qualify the team to the African competition in Mauritania before fulfilling his goal of lifting the ultimate.
The Nigeriens, though on paper may appear the underdogs against the more accomplished Ghanaians, are unbeaten and ended up as winners in Group A.
They pipped host Benin by a lone goal and obtained draws against Burkina Faso and Togo.
Unlike the Nigeriens, Ghana – three-time U-20 champions, placed second in Group B – having lost their last group game against Cote d’Ivoire after qualifying earlier with a 1-0 win against Nigeria.
Zito also harbours a long shot ambition of qualifying his side for the global edition slated for Indonesia later next year after a four-year absence, with the Satellites last appearing at the 2015 edition.
This sets the stakes of this game high and Zito reckons his boys must deliver their best performance yet to keep their goals alive.
He praised their resilience and performance to earn qualification from their first game against rivals Nigeria. But with qualification sealed, his team faltered against the young Elephants, a performance that underscored his side’s troubles with finishing.
Karim will, however, welcome back striker Precious Boah who grabbed the winner against Nigeria but was suspended against the Ivorians due to a red card offence to lead his assault on the Nigeriens.
He will be joined by shot-stopper Danlad Ibrahim, whizkid Matthew Anim Cudjoe and Captain Daniel Afriyie to win the day for the Satellites.
BY NANA BENTSI ODURO
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