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02.02.2009 Football News

Satellites Conquer Africa!

By Daily Guide
Satellites Conquer Africa!

Black satellites The national under-20 side, the Black Satellites yesterday beat the Young Lions of Cameroon 2-0 in Kigali, Rwanda, to win the African Youth Championship (AYC) trophy.

Ransford Osei scored both goals- one each half- to emerge the tournament's top-scorer with seven goals.

The Satellites indicated their preparedness to win the trophy right from the blast of the referee's whistle, with Gladson Awako firing a screamer that went across the face of goal in the first minute of the game.

Having won over the Rwandan fans with their style of play, the Satellites seem to be at home, with the fans screaming each time the Ghanaians surged forward.

Diminutive Awako, who combined effectively with Agyemang Badu, Isaac Donkor and Skipper Dede Ayew in midfield, was a thorn in the flesh of the Cameroonians, firing another absolute cracker that went just wide in the 9th minute.

Perhaps the Cameroonian coach, Alain Wabo's 'big talk' before the match informed Sellas Tetteh's change of tactics, which was a far-cry from the typical Ghanaian style of play. His charges soaked pressure from the Cameroonians, and in a typical European style, caught the opponents on fast breaks.

In one such move, Dominic Adiyah was presented with a golden opportunity in the 22nd minute to put Ghana in the lead, but he muffed the chance, resulting in a corner.

After a short corner, Samuel Inkoom rounded off a defender and sent a perfect cross to Ransford Osei, who side-footed the ball into the net for his sixth goal of the tournament.

From then on, it was a ding-dong affair until the 43rd minute when Cameroonian striker Jacques Zoua failed to grab the equalizer for his side, and instead blasted the ball over the bar to the delight of the Ghanaian fans.

On the stroke of half-time, Adiyah again fell short of connecting Inkoom's cross, leaving the scores 1-0 at the end of the first half.

The second half of the game was all-scrappy, with the Young Lions trying to use their physique to advantage; but the speed of the Ghanaians on the breaks left the Cameroonian defencemen of Banana Yaya, Daouda, Tabot and Seimou always panting and gasping for air.

Nothing seemed to work for the Young Lions who were being slowly devoured by the Satellites in the full glare of their compatriot Issa Hayatou, president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF). Their attack force of Jacques Zoua, Ekeng and Owona were no match for the Ghanaian defence of Jonathan Mensah, Daniel Addo, Samuel Inkoom and David Addy.

And in the 58th minute, 'Junior Rock of Gibraltar' Jonathan Mensah cleared a goal-bound ball to deny Cameroon of any chance of getting back into the game.

'Permanent Menace' Ransford Osei added Ghana's second goal in the 87th minute when he tapped in Inkoom's low cross from close range, sealing the doom of the Young Lions.

Ghana have thus won the trophy for the third time after similar feats in 1993 and 1999.

Earlier on Saturday, Nigeria had beaten South Africa 2-1, to win the silver medal.

The Satellites, along with Cameroon, Nigeria and South Africa, have therefore qualified for the World Youth Championship slated for September in Egypt.

Many soccer connoisseurs are of the opinion that if the Black Satellites of Ghana could maintain their current form, it is inconceivable for any youth team to beat them at the World Cup.

But as to whether they can conquer the world, as they have done Africa, only time will tell.  

By Mohammed Muniru Kassim