Ghana will face Burkina Faso in the semi-final on Saturday
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WAFU B U17 AFCON Qualifiers: Black Starlets meet Burkina Faso in semis

Ghana’s Black Starlets will battle Burkina Faso in the semi-finals of the WAFU Zone B U-17 Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers at the University of Ghana Stadium on Saturday for a place in the final and a ticket to the U-17 AFCON. Kickoff is scheduled for 5pm.

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Ghana finished top of Group A with six points to draw Burkina Faso, runners-up in Group B with seven points behind Nigeria.

The other semi-final clash pits defending champions Nigeria against Cote d’Ivoire later on Saturday evening. Kickoff is at 8pm. 

The Starlets are aiming at winning the WAFU Zone B tourney on home soil to make it to the continental event for the first time since 2017. However, they must first account for their Burkinabe to make it to the African Championships, which also serves as a qualifying tournament for the next Under-17 FIFA World Cup.

Before achieving the aim, Coach Laryea Kingston and his charges have a daunting task to secure a victory against Burkina Faso side who have so far, given a good account of themselves in the competition. 

Despite Ghana, boasting of two straight wins to claim the top spot in Group A, Coach Kingston has an enormous task to tighten his defence and midfield departments to hold their opponents in check in today's pivotal encounter. 

In a post-match interview after leading his side to defeat Benin 2-0 last Tuesday, Coach Kingston defended his players' performance, insisting they would learn from their mistakes and gain the needed experience along the way with more exposure at such a top-level competition. 

“In this part of the world, we focus more on results. But this age group is just for development. Any win or qualification for a major tournament is a bonus. For me, we have to develop the boys, give them that confidence to play. If my player makes mistake at this age, it’s part of his development,” he said. 

The Starlets' defensive frailties, porous midfield and goalkeeping blunders saw them struggle in their last two matches against Cote d’Ivoire and Benin, respectively. If Coach Kingston seals these loopholes in midfield and defence, the Starlets look poised for a convincing win against Burkina Faso for a place in the final. 

So far, Ghana's attack has shown great promise but needs to be more clinical against the Burkinabes and make the game who will also be out in search of a win for a ticket to the U-17 AFCON. 

Players to be selected in Ghana's starting line-up include hat-trick hero Joseph Narbi, a hat-trick scorer in Ghana's 5-0 thumping of Cote dIvoire, Godfred Sarpong, Harve Gbafa, Benjamin Tsivanyo, Bilal Adjebi, Izdeen Mohammed, Issah Abdul Rafiu, Hamza Iddrisu, Abdulai Nortey, and Theophilus Ayamga.

Other squad members available for selection are goalkeeper Michael Armah, Ernest Ofori, Benjamin Hanson, Ebenezer Adolf Ago, Samuel Kusi, Abdul Baaki Haruna, Mark Kagawa Mensah, Prince Charles Amoah, Ebenezer Anani and Joshua Tetteh Tuwor.

With a focused and well-prepared squad, the Starlets are poised to secure victory against Burkina Faso to advance their quest to reclaim their status as a former African and world champions.

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