Satellites to form hub of Black Stars
From Daniel Kenu: GNA Special Correspondent, Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire
Abidjan, Oct 25 GNA - Despite their inability to qualify for the African Youth Championship in Benin next year, the current Under 20 team, the Satellites would be the hub around which the Black Stars' squad for the Africa Cup of Nations 2008 would be formed.
Alhaji Rashid Bawa, Minister of State at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports assured the players before the 1-1 drawn game against the Young Elephants of Cote D' Ivoire on Sunday.
The Satellites missed out on a 2-1 aggregate, having lost the first leg 0-1 in Accra barely three weeks ago.
Alhaji Bawa said it would be unwise to abandon such a talented squad based on the outcome of a single match but warned that it would not be a wholesale promotion to the Black Stars team in 2008.
His message was collaborated by head coach, Francis Oti Akenten who said in a post match interview that the future for the boys look quite bright but said there was the need for the rough edges to be smoothened. Characteristically with Ghanaian strikers in recent times, the Satellites arrow-heads wasted glorious chances which if had been converted would have sealed the doom of the Young Elephants. Felix Baffoe's first minute fumble and Prince Tagoe's fourth minute mis-kick coupled with Sam Yeboah's 35th minute mishap shot the Satellites in their feet.
Aside Yeboah who looked more businesslike, Tagoe was too feeble while Michael Helegbe was out of colour.
But Coach Oti Akenten told the GNA Sports in a post match interview that the key players had picked injuries and he could not substitute all of them at the same time.
The Satellites shot ahead in the 15th minute after a two-man move was completed by Yeboah, but the goal was cancelled through a spot kick by Diaby Abramane, scorer of the lone goal in the first leg in Accra. Although the penalty looked quite doubtful, coach Oti Akenten would not blame the referee but rather his strikers, saying that if they had taken their chances, there was no way the Togolese referee Kokou would have rejected them.
The coach praised his defenders, particularly Douglas Nkrumah for his excellent role at the left back.
It was a sad day for both players and officials as goalkeeper's trainer; John Abeka could not help but to cry like a baby. The teeming fans organised by Kotoko's Cycle 140 in Abidjan and One man Supporter from Accra left the stadium unnoticed but the Ivorians on the other hand who benefited from a free gate, poured into the streets of Plateau to celebrate.