Posted On Thursday, 4th April 2013
Ghana’s U20 put up a sterling display at the just ended African Youth Championship to win silver.
The Black Satellites were by far the best side in the final match against Egypt but lost 5-4 on penalties in the final at the Ahmed Zabana Stadium in Oran, Algeria.
Ahead of the 2013 FIFA U20 World Cup in Turkey this June, GHANASoccernet.com picks its six discoveries at the African qualifiers in Algeria.
Eric Ofori Antwi: The Amidaus Professionals goalkeeper never played in the qualifiers but his performance in the Ghana Premier League earned him a surprise call up. He might not have pulled great saves but his composure and aerial timing is commendable for a youngster. At the tournament, he won one of the match award after serving two penalties in the semi-final win over Mali. In the final match against Mali, Ofori won the Fair Play Award.
Jeremiah Akorful: The Tema Youth left back was down the pecking order before the start of the tournament. He sat on the bench in the opening 2-1 defeat to Egypt but Sellas Tetteh’s decision to reassign Ebenezer Ofori as a left-back led to the discovery of this polished diamond. Akorful has Premier League experience but not a household name. His lethal runs, good recovery rate, and a designated free-kick taker make him a sure bet for Ghana’s squad to Turkey. Akorful is a penalty expert too.
Lawrence Lartey: This centre-back survived the selection process and rose to captain the team. His leadership qualities, like his artistry, are not in doubts at all. Lartey graduated from Abedi Pele’s Nania FC where he skippered the second-tier to win the 2011 MTN Ghana FA Cup and Super Cup double. His excellent ball control, aerial strength and ability to intercept the attacks of opponents put him head and shoulders above his peers. Lartey was deservedly named in the tournament’s Best XI.
Siedu Salifu: The Wa All Stars player was never first choice before the team left for their pre-tournament training in Italy and Spain. His outstanding performance in the friendly against Barcelona meant he dislodged Derrick Mensah. His wonder strike from 25 yards against Algeria in the final Group A match reminds many of ex-international Mohammed Gargo. He protects his defenders and also has the penchant of initiating attacks. Salifu can also play as right-back.
Clifford Aboagye: Clever, intelligent and game changer are adjectives that fit the diminutive offensive midfielder as a glove. He epitomizes the saying: Never mind the size but feel the quality. His sublime skills and defence splitting passes make him quite an exceptional talent. Aboagye comes from the second-tier side Inter Allies but has already signed for Italian side Udinese.
Ebenezer Assifuah: He announced his presence by scoring four goals in one match when Liberty Professionals trounced Berekum Chelsea in the Ghana Premier League in December. Assifuah had a good run at the tournament by scoring three goals and winning two man-of-the-match awards. His work rate and size remind you so much of Argentines Javier Saviola (At the 2001 FIFA U20 World Cup), Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero.