Two-time FIFA U-17 World Cup champions, Ghana, makes a return to the continental championship after missing out on the last edition in Niger after being disqualified.
Champions in 1995 and 1997, the Black Starlets are highly tipped to make the top four and qualify for the global championship later in the year in India, in the absence of West African powerhouses, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire.
On a mission to rewrite the history books is Ghana coach, Samuel Fabin, who has been tasked with guiding the teenagers to the summit.
This would be his third shot having faulted at the 2013 edition of the continental championship in Morocco, where the team failed to reach the last four, before the ghost of disqualification haunted them two years later.
Fabin, a renowned youth trainer in his native Ghana tells CAFOnline.com a ticket to the World Cup in India remains their target.
The last 10 years has not been good for Ghana football especially at the U-17 level as we have failed to make it to the World Cup, which hitherto was a constant feature for the country. So the main aim of this team will be to qualify to the World Cup slated for India, he said.
A former trainer of Ghanaian giants, Asante Kotoko and Hearts of oak, he hopes to get it right this time especially as he presides over a team blessed with talent, skill and hungry for success.
The squad according to him has something that was missing in the previous sides � hunger, that is one thing Fabin adores.
The coaching staff, Management and the players are hoping we seal qualification by the second game. We want to qualify in grand style and that we want to achieve by the end of the first two games so that it would put us in a relax mood to tackle the rest of the games, added Fabin.
The Starlets will open their campaign in Group A against Cameroon on May 14 in Port Gentil and follow it up three days later with a game against host Gabon before playing their final group game against Guinea on May 20th.
I have respect for all the teams that made it to the finals. Every team is a potential banana peel, and I am a coach who does not undermine any opposition, he declared.
Regarding preparations for the two-week tourney, the Ghana trainer says his side had the best of it, having sealed it with three international friendly matches against Tanzania and Niger where they drew 2-2 against the former away in Dar el Salaam and defeated the latter 4-0 over two legs in Accra.
The Starlets team abounds in so much talent right from the goalkeeping department to the forward line. Some players to watch out for include captain Eric Ayiah, Emmanuel Toku, Gabriel Leveh, Idriss Mohammed and Kwadwo Poku.
We are ready for the tournament. We have been in camp for some time now and training has been rigorous and helpful to us as a team. We are just counting the days as we put finishing touches to our preparations, said captain Ayiah.
On his part, forward Kwadwo Opoku said they have a fair idea of what to expect and are ready to make a name for themselves.
Our coaches have been showing some excerpts of our opponents’ games to us, and we have been training well too. We are confident that when the tournament starts, we will start on a good not. We want our names to go down in Ghana football history like our seniors who won the tournament and conquered at the World Cup too, said Opoku, on the books of lower side, Charity Stars.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football