The fierce football rivalry between two West Africa countries, Ghana and Mali, will be renewed today when they clash in the quarter-final of the ongoing FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Guwahati.
Mali has become the biggest nightmare for Ghanaian trainer, Paa Kwesi Fabin, who has yet to decode the right formulae to halt the swift and free-scoring Young Eagles.
In their last two clashes, the Eagles soared above the Starlets and still remain the team to beat in this competition after scoring 13 goals so far in four matches.
Contrasting that with the record of the Ghanaian side, who have scored seven goals, indicates how potent the attack of the Malians is, as well as their ability to run at their opponents at will and dictate the pace.
Tactically, the Eagles have proved to be supperior as was manifested when they beat Iraq 5-1 at the round of 16 stage, with some skillful players, including, Fode Konatey, Hadji Drame, Seme Camara and Lassana N'diame, who are ready to outshine Ghana's Emmanuel Tolcu, Ibrahim Sulley, Gabriel Leveh and skipper Eric Ayiah today.
Coach Fabin is aware of the might of the Malians and that if he has to end the good run of Coach Jonas Kokou Komla side in the tournament, then he needs to improve on his team's conversion rate to ensure a more clinical Starlets attack.
During the week, the Starlets coach complained about his team's poor
scoring ability and promised to fix it, but that would not be his only concern as he also needed to reshuffle his squad following some injury worries in camp.
So far, some slight injury concerns have threatened to weaken Coach Fabin's team as Bismark Owusu Terry failed to train yesterday after getting a knock during Ghana's game against
Niger, while Isaac Gyamfi is also doubtful for today's game after he was made to do some light training yesterday.
Nonetheless, the Ghanaian coach is confident he is on the right path towards causing the biggest upset in the tournament by whipping the favourites to earn a semi-final slot.