Friday, October 16, 2009

How the boys did it

Ghana won the African Youth Championship with a dominant performance at the tournament in Rwanda, underlining their superiority with a 2-0 win over Cameroon in the final.

Now, Ghana have just won the WORLD Youth Championship in some shaky fashion at the tournament in Egypt. They just about underlined the superiority by beating the Selecao on penalties.

First half

Ghana started like they have done all-tournament-long, on a slow, sluggish pace. The team gave folks here the complete set of jitters. But of course, the highlight was the sending off of Daniel Addo in the 37th minute. It was a harsh and needless decision by the ref, because he (Addo) was not the last man.

Yes, Addo fouled his opponent. Yes, he deserved a yellow, but no, not a straight red.

That decision changed the way the game was played from then on. Brazil piled on the pressure but Ghana coach Sellas Tetteh’s decision not to effect a change was brave. In the end he was proved right.

Ghana, playing with ten men, went into the half-time interval on the back foot and came back in the second pretty much the same. Ghana failed to have a single shot on goal in the first 45.

Second half

Though it was pretty much the same, the Satellites started putting passes together, a massive improvement from a listless first half performance. The story of the second half was of how Brazil managed to throw away chance after chance.

Alex Teixeira should have scored yet he contrived to head wide from Diogo’s centre and Alan Kardec had a golden opportunity, but headed straight at Daniel Agyei when a ball was floated to him. Rafael Toloi eased a great pass for Alan Kardec to lead on, but he fired into the side netting. Kardec, named after a French philospher, was culpable again as he missed another chance seconds later.

As the game reached the 75th minute, Ghana were having some of the ball but still Brazil looked the more menacing. Andre Ayew, the captain of Ghana, looked unbelievably mature today, playing a style of get-pass-deliver that is quite unlike him. Emmanuel Agyemang and Rabiu were huge in midfield and goalie Daniel Agyei would surely have more than a few girls for free when he gets back.

So with this, the Satellites forced the game into extras - but not before there was more drama to be told. With the Ghana captain Dede Ayew trying to make a move into the Brazilian box, he clashed with Rafael Toloi and they both looked crocked for the rest of the game.

Extra time

More of the same but the possession was mostly Brazil didn’t looked short as Rafael was walking with a pronounced limp. Yet he stayed on and his team mate Maicon forced Daniel Agyei into a priceless save.

The stunned look on Maicon’s face could have been auctioned for millions at Sotheby’s. The save seemed to increase Ghana;s resolve and Sellas Tetteh made a change. He replaced Abeiku Quansah with Opoku Agyemang.

But it changed little and we had to go to penalties.


Brazil opened the scoring in the penalty kicks but Ghana responded with a Andre Ayew goal. Samuel Inkoom scored as well after Brazil had netted again.

The third and fourth attempts by Jonathan Mensah and Bright Addae were saved by the Brazilian goalkeeper Rafael.

However, Ghana keeper Daniel Agyei blocked Brazil’s fourth and fifth kicks to keep the Black Satellites back in contention of a major title as Dominic Adiyiah converted his kick.

Teixeira saw his shot, the sixth kick, fly over the crossbar and Ghana were handed the initiative.
And the moment glory fell on Agyemang Badu who displaced Rafael to claim for Ghana gold in a dramatic finish.

End of a great season for them

So, Ghana have done the historic double, winning the African title earlier this year and now this. Spectacular.

Line up: Daniel Agyei, Samuel Inkoom, David Addy, Jonathan Mensah, Daniel Addo, Agyemang Badu, Abeiku Quansah/Opoku Agyemang, Rabiu Mohammed/Bright Addae, Dominic Adiyiah, Ransford Osei/Kassenu Ghandi, Andre Ayew

Subs: Opoku Agyemang, Latif Salifu, Kassenu Ghandi, Bright Addae, Philip Boampong, Gladson
Awako, Opoku Agyemang, Robert Dabuo, Daniel Opare, John Benson, Joseph Addo.