Sports News of Tuesday, 18 September 2018
Former FIFA U-17 World Cup winner Awudu Issaka insists the Black Starlets did their best at the WAFU Zone B U-17 championship but were unlucky not to qualify for the Africa U-17 tournament next year.
The Black Starlets of Ghana were beaten on penalties by Nigeria at the WAFU U-17 championship, missing out on qualification of the Africa Juvenile Championship and subsequently the FIFA World Cup.
The team began the competition with a draw against host Niger, before victories over Togo and Ivory Coast ensured they were in the finals of the championship, where they played the Golden Eaglets.
However, with the new qualifying format, the Black Starlets will miss Tanzania 2019.
Awudu Issaka, who is revered in Ghana for his exploits at the U-17 level feels the team were very unlucky in the finals.
“The boys did very well at the tournament, it was just hard luck,” he told Zylofon FM. “We shouldn’t give up, we just have to develop the players. When you look at the talents on display and the coaches around the boys we can keep the boys for the future,” he added.
The 39-year-old cited a case with the European system of grooming players from the junior national teams through to the senior side.
“When you study the Europeans, they have the U-18, U-19 and U-20’s so we can keep these boys. Even if it is at the Ghanaman Soccer Center of Excellence in Pampram. We can camp them there and also provide them with education,” he concluded.
Ghana were runners-up in the last edition of the Africa Juvenile Champions and finished as runners up at the FIFA World Cup in India last year.