Ghana’s Black Satellites have one crucial moment to save hard-won credentials they have carved in youth football at the global level as they take on the USA in the last group game this evening at the Kadir Has Stadium.
Having won the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in 2009, to break the duopoly of Argentina and Brazil — and played twice in the finals in 1993 and 2001 — the Satellites’ predicament at this year’s tournament is a wonder to many, particularly the avid Turkish fans who saw the superlative performance of the 2009 team.
After two games, the Satellites for the first time face a real threat of elimination after straight defeats to France and Spain. The Ghanaians were humiliated 3-0 by France and suffered a 0-1 loss to Spain, and the ignominy of a preliminary round elimination is the situation that the team wants to fight, the source of a spirit of resilience that both officials and players carry into the game against the Americans this evening.
Satellites Management Committee chairman, George Afriyie, dreads the possibility of another defeat in today’s game, saying it would be too bad for the team, considering the impeccable pedigree of the team as one of the strong forces in the FIFA-organised youth competitions.
“Nothing can be compared to this type of humiliation, if the Satellites go out at this stage and without a single win. It will be the first time that the Satellites would have played three matches without a win at the World Cup.
“For me, this is what we want to avoid and we have made the boys aware of how crucial this evening’s game is and they must do their best to win”, he told the Daily Graphic yesterday, after the team’s last work-out at the magnificent Kadir Has Stadium.
But the task of surmounting the American challenge is quite a formidable one and could be quite unnerving against a side that have suddenly rediscovered their confidence.
With two major changes, Coach Tab Ramos has hugely transformed a side that went down heavily against Spain, and players such as Quevas Daniel and Luis Gil could prove handful for the Satellites.
Arguably, the Satellites have since their humiliation by France seen some turn around in their game, following the arrival of striker Richmond Boakye-Yiadom and Baba Rahman, who brought their experience to bear on last Monday’s game as they managed to rally forces to run the Europeans rugged.
If the Satellites are to carry the same passion and fighting spirit into the game this evening, then they could be on the threshold of winning their first game and possibly qualify for the second round as one of the best third-placed sides.