18.05.2005 Football News

Ministry praises Starlets

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Accra, May 18, GNA - The Ministry of Education and Sports has praised the players and technical handlers of the Black Starlets for qualifying for the World Under-17 Soccer Championship slated for Peru in September this year, after six years' absence.

The Starlets booked their tickets via a 2-0 victory over Cote D'Ivoire in the first semis-final match played at the Independence Stadium in Bakau, The Gambia, on Tuesday.

A statement issued in Accra on Wednesday and signed by Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, a Deputy Minister of Education and Sports said: "your qualification for the World Cup surely marks a renaissance of youth football in the country."

It expressed the hope that the Starlets qualification would serve as a good omen for the Black Stars in their quest for a maiden World Cup appearance in Germany next year.

The Starlets and hosts, The Gambia, who beat South Africa in the second semi-final match 2-1, clash on Sunday in the grand finale. "Now that you have qualified for the World Cup, the entire nation is urging you on to go for the ultimate and win the trophy for keeps," the statement said.

The Starlets won the African Championship in 1995 and 1999 and are gunning for a treble on Sunday.

The statement recounted how the dominance of the Starlets at the World level particularly in 1991 and 1995 revived and popularised the game, especially at the youth level and hoped the success of the current team would generate and sustain further interest among the youth. Cote D'Ivoire and South Africa play on Saturday in the third place match. The winner joins Ghana and The Gambia for Peru. 18 May 05

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