FIFA U-17 World Cup: Ghana eager to end long wait for success
Ghana have been clubbed in Group A of the FIFA U-17 World Cup with hosts India, United States of America and Colombia.fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Oct 05, 2017 20:23 IST
It has been a long wait for Ghana since they last played in the FIFA U-17 World Cup. The Black Stars’ outing at the 2007 edition did not go according to plan and it has been a long wait for the top African football nation. Ghana coach Paa Kwesi Fabin says Ghana may not be as celebrated as they once were, but they are still the kings of Africa when it comes to the beautiful game.
“We are still the leaders of Africa as far as I am concerned and it is my belief the world will see it in this tournament,” Fabin told a pre-match press conference on Thursday.
Ghana will take on Colombia in the first match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Group A on Friday, which kicks off at 5pm. Hosts India face USA in the second game.
“We are here to prove ourselves and although we have not played in this competition for 10 years, we will still be a force to be reckoned with. It took a long time for us to get here again, but we are a top side and everyone will see that,” Fabin said.
Ghana were the powerhouse of African football in the 1990s winning two FIFA U-17 World Cup titles, in 1991 and 1995. Their dominance can be seen from the fact that there was not a single occasion in the FIFA U-17 World Cup or the CAF U-17 Cup of Nations when they finished outside the top three.
But things started going downhill for the Ghanaians at the turn of the century. They were unable to reach the knockout stages even once after 1999, and though they are making a comeback after a long time, Fabin said they are ready for the challenge.
“We have prepared well for this tournament. I am very happy with how the team is performing. In the last few months, our training has been solid. Although we are paired with strong teams, we are confident the players will impress you all.”
Colombia were the first team to start practising as they wanted to get a feel of the conditions, but Fabin believes won’t be a problem.
“The weather here is just like Ghana. There is lot of sunshine here, and trust me, we are totally at home. We are very happy with the facilities here. Although we aren’t used to the food, we are trying our best.”