Ghana and South Africa will take their rivalry to another level when the two sides faceoff in the opening Group B match of the 19th edition of the African U-20 Championship Senegal 2015 on Monday, 9 March 2015 in the coastal city of M’Bour.
Intense rivalry exists between the two teams at any level and with either side eyeing a perfect start to their campaign at the eight team tournament, the 3,500-capacity Caroline Faye Stadium will be set ablaze.
Revenge will be on the minds of the South Africans after their seniors, Bafana Bafana lost 2-1 to Ghana’s Black Stars at the 2015 Orange Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea, a result that sent the South Africans packing out of the tournament.
Each side is very much aware of the importance of the opening match at any competition to their chances and will be looking forward to nothing short of the maximum points or at least a point.
Preparation-wise, both teams appear ready with Ghana fining-tune in Turkey where they excelled in test matches against some lower division sides and Azerbaijan. The Amajita were the first team to arrive in Senegal, almost two weeks before the others and suffered a lone goal defeat to hosts Senegal in a test game last week.
The Ghana team is under the technical guidance of Sellas Tetteh, who made history by becoming the first coach to guide an African title to the FIFA U-20 World Cup crown will be making a second appearance at the championship after steering the Black Satellites to the ultimate at the 2009 edition in Rwanda.
Tetteh is someone who knows the terrain well and is the most experienced at the tournament and will be expected to bring his experience to the fore. No stranger to playing against the South Africans, he was at the helm when his side thumped the Amajita 4-3 at the semis on their way to lifting the ultimate in 2009.
“It is always ideal to kick-off in grand style. At this moment, I can say we are ready. We will work to get a respectable side. I respect every team because all team that have qualified means they have something. The first game is always difficult because most of the teams are fresh,” Tetteh said.
On the otherhand, his South African counterpart Thabo Senong is convinced a respectable result in the opening match will serve the perfect tone for their quest to reach the last four.
“The morale is good and the boys are well-focused. Ghana are a tough side but we are equally good. I’m expecting an exciting match.”
In the other Group B match, Mali will square Zambia later at the same venue to wrap up the Day One matches of the Orange African U-20 Champinship Senegal 2015.
09/03/2015 Ghana vs Senegal 16H30 (GMT)
09/03/2015 Mali vs Zambia 19H30 (GMT)
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