Black Starlets: Ghana Return to U-17 World Cup After 10-Year Absence

Ghana’s Black Starlets have qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, after easing their way into the CAF U-17 African Cup of Nations semi-finals on Wednesday, May 17.

The starlets slammed hosts Gabon 5-0 in their second group game at the 2017 Africa U-17 Championship on Wednesday to qualify for the semi-final of the 8-team tournament; a feat that qualifies them for the World Cup. The Starlets, who have scored nine goals in two games without conceding, are currently two points clear in Group A.

Eric Ayiah registered his second brace of the competition after opening the scoring from the spot in the 33rd minute. Emmanuel Toku followed suit with two goals at the 34th and 66th minutes respectively. At the 76th minute, Ayiah scored the fifth and final goal, earning the team a spot at the U-17 World Cup in India.

Guinea is second in the group and needs just a draw in their final group match to become the second of the four African nations to join the Black Starlets in India. The Black Starlets will face Guinea in their last group game in Libreville on Saturday, May 20.

This win which secures one of the four slots available for the global showpiece comes after Ghana’s massive win at their opening CAF U-17 clash with Cameron on Sunday, May, 14. This feat also comes at a time the nation wallows in a major trophy drought. Ghana was crowned world champions in 1991 and 1995.

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A look at the winning team 

The starlets are indeed well prepared this time, all thanks to coach Paa Kwesi Fabin.

Coach Fabin named Najeeb Yakubu, Rashid Al Hassan, Faisal  Osman and Abdul Rasak Yusif as defenders. Asante Kotoko goal keeper Danlad Ibrahim retained his position as the keeper. For the midfielders, he named Cheetah FC kid Mohammed Iddris and Emmanuel Toku to man the wing. And of course the team has attackers; Eric Ayia and Ibrahim Sulley.