Preview: Satellites take on the world

BY: Arku Jasmine

Ghana’s Black Satellites are back in the chase for a second FIFA U-20 World Cup title in four years in Turkey with golden Sellas Tetteh in charge after missing the Colombia 2011 fiesta under former assistant coach Orlando Wellington. Coach Tetteh, alias Borbor, did the unthinkable on African soil in 2009 by leading a hungry bunch of talented players to win Africa’s first ever world title at the youth level. And as coming events cast their shadows, the former Black Stars assistant coach appears set to cause another sensation after holding reigning champions, Brazil, to a 1-1 draw in the final of a four-nation tournament in Switzerland last Saturday, losing the trophy at stake 3-4 on penalties.

Ironically, the Andre Dede Ayew-led Satellites denied Brazil the title in 2009 via the same scoreline on penalties, raising hopes for another challenge for the ultimate without Brazil in this year’s competition which opens in Turkey on Friday till July 13.

That piece of news must be refreshing for skeptics who were not impressed with the Satellites’s silver medal showing at the African Youth Championship in Algeria last April.

Ghana will open their account on Friday with a tough Group A match against European powerhouse France and take on Spain and USA on June 24 and 27 respectively. And knowing the task ahead of his team in the ‘Group of Death’, soft-spoken Tetteh is approaching the tournament with cautious optimism though Ghana ranks among the tournament favourites.

The Satellites lead a strong African representation, including Nigeria, Egypt and Mali, and look better off with their preparation at home and abroad as Borbor and his assistant, Yaw Preko, now have foreign-based options to give their team the needed balance for such a demanding tournament.

For years, the FIFA U-20 World Cup has remained a huge platform for showcasing future stars and Turkey 2013 will be no different. Come to think of it, the likes of Dede Ayew, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, Samuel Inkoom, Jonathan Mensah, Dominic Adiyiah, Daniel Agyei and David Addy of the Black Stars fame all emerged from the victorious 2009 Black Satellites squad.

Currently, opinion is divided over Coach Tetteh’s ability to win another trophy for Ghana, but the former Rwanda national team coach believes something good can come out of their ambitious adventure in Turkey.   

For instance, the inclusion of foreign-based players such as Richmond Boakye-Yiadom, Joseph Duncan, Daniel Pappoe and Baba Abdul Rahman to the Ghana team has obviously strengthened the team which already has some bright spots such as goal poacher, Ebenezer Assifuah, Jeremiah Akorful, Moses Odjer, Kennedy Ashia,

Francis Narh, Frank Acheampong, Richmond Nketiah, Ebenezer Ofori, Michael Anaba, Clifford Aboagye and Skipper Lawrence Lartey.

Perhaps, we all have to wait till Friday’s opener with France to have an idea of what the present generation has in store for Ghanaians and the rest of Africa this time around.

Preview by Samuel Ebo Kwaitoo