Satellites' Last Hurdle - To Qualify For Africa Title Defence
African champions, Black Satellites of Ghana, have one foot in Libya 2011 and look set to add the other in style at the expense of the Junior Squirrels of Benin in Accra tomorrow to position for a title defence at the March 18 to April 1 tournament.
The man in the saddle for the Satellites’ smooth march to the Promised Land is unsung Orlando Wellington who was deputy to Sellas Tetteh in the previous world conquest, and the rich experience gained from that tortuous journey has armed him and his team against any last minute hitches.
The Satellites go into tomorrow’s game with a commanding 2-0 lead courtesy first leg goals by Ebo Andoh and Italy-based Richmond Boakye Yiadom, but Coach Wellington and Management Committee chairman, Jordan Anagbla, have still decided to take their destiny into their hands as evidenced in the flying down of six foreign-based players for the duel.
That is why a lot will be expected from skipper Mahatma Otoo of CAF Champions League finalists Esperance fame, Boakye Yiadom (Genoa), Amidu Salifu (Vicenza), Afriyie Acquah (Palermo), Jordan Ayew, from the camp of French champions Olympique Marseille and James Bissue of Israeli side Hapoel Be’er Sheva as the title holders seek to seal qualification at the Ohene Djan Stadium and keep the party going.
However, the main attraction for the expected large crowd will be last son of the legendary Abedi Ayew Pele, Jordan, who has seized the lifeline offered him by the Satellites handlers this time after previous no-shows.
Connoisseurs believe the U-20 challenge is more relevant to the 19-year-old Jordan, thus the Benin hurdle offers the youngster a good platform to make a memorable debut for the Satellites after his two caps with the Black Stars.
Besides the much-needed good result, the match will afford Coach Wellington and Ghanaians in general the opportunity to observe the Italy-based duo of Salifu and Acquah from close range and determine whether they can fit into the team for yet another Africa and world assualt after qualification.
Following the first leg upset, the Beninois are expected to go all out to spoil the Ghanaians’ party, but Coach Wellington has assured Ghanaians that he has prepared his team enough to counter any strategy their opponents will employ tomorrow.