• Black Starlets' Mark Kagawa Mensah (left) battles with Achirafou Sabam of Benin during the game
• Black Starlets' Mark Kagawa Mensah (left) battles with Achirafou Sabam of Benin during the game

WAFU Zone B U17 Championship: Black Starlets in semis after victory over Benin

Brilliant first half strikes by Mark Kagawa Mensah and Theophilus Ayamga earned Ghana’s national under-17 team, the Black Starlets, a 2-0 victory over Benin to secure a semi-final berth in the ongoing WAFU Zone B under-17 Championship at the University of Ghana Stadium yesterday.


The Starlets will know their semi-final opponent when Group B concludes on Wednesday, May 22.

The match showcased a competitive display from both sides, with Ghana taking the lead twice in the 19th and the 21st minutes.

Kagawa opened the scoring with an assist from Joseph Narbi who won the ball from his marker and skillfully set up Kagawa who struck the ball from the middle of the box.

But much better was to come two minutes later, after Ayamga’s precision strike from outside of the 18-yard box hit the back of the net beautifully to double the tally for Ghana. 

Kagawa, who moments earlier had a shot flying over the crossbar, made amends with his second attempt which happened to be the final goal of the game.

The Ghanaians would have registered the opener much earlier after skipper Benjamin Tsivanyo beat his markers on the left flank but his effort hit the side of the net.


Benin created their share of chances as Pierre Gohoun almost scored in the 33rd minute after he outpaced the Ghanaian defenders but his strike from close range landed in the arms of goalkeeper Michael Armah.

The visitors regrouped immediately and won the ball, making incursions in the goal area of Ghana but their effort did not yield the needed result as defenders Harve Gbafa and Hamza Iddrisu remained alert to get the job done.

Benin later had a goal ruled off by Nigerian referee Sadou Ali Brahamou in the 45th minute.

Tsivanyo wasted an opportunity to make it three for Ghana after he chanced on the ball closer to the box but fired it above the cross bar.

Back from the break, the Black Starlets moved straight into action seeking to score more goals, and during one of such attacks, earned two successive corners but failed to capitalise on them.

Again, the Ghanaians did not relent as they kept pushing and in the 61st minute, they profited from a freekick after Tsivanyo was brought down close to the box but Ernest Ofori’s strike went straight into the arms of goalkeeper Mohammed Katchakolo.

Coach Laryea Kingston made some changes to augment the team as he brought on Ebenezer Adolf Ago for Tsivanyo, Prince Charles Amoah replaced Izdeen Mohammed while Ebenezer Anane came on for Kagawa.

Substitute Prince Charles Amoah quickly zoomed into action and made incursions in the area of the Beninois. However, he was always met by the resolute defenders of Benin.

Both sides kept pushing for goals but could not find the back of the net till the entire 90 minutes was exhausted.

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