Two -time champions, Ghana turned on the style on Sunday at Stade de Port Gentil to crush Cameroon 4-0 in the second match of the on-going Total U-17 African Cup of Nations Gabon 2017.
Captain Eric Ayiah and midfielder Ibrahima Sulley both grabbed a brace to shoot the Ghanaians to the top of Group A with a superior goal difference after Guinea had earlier saw off hosts Gabon 5-1 in the tournament’s opener.
Ayiah shot the Black Starlets into the lead in the 25th minute courtesy of a lively pass from Emmanuel Toku who breached the Lions’ defence with ease. Sulley got the second with another well-taken shot in the 32nd; and two minutes later, he completed his brace with a remarkable calmness after breaking the Lions’ off side trap as he lobbed the ball over on-rushing goalkeeper Boris Junior Essele. Ayiah completed the route with a stunning angular shot in the 64th minute.
Yet both sides came into this match knowing a win would be good for their aspirations but it turned out to be a contest of flair against force with the Black Starlets turning on the style while the Cubs stuck with their gusty display.
Much to the prediction of Ghana’s Head coach Samuel Fabian that they have the ammo to neutralise their opponents, the Black Starlets’ spontaneity and trickery was too much for their Cameroonian counterparts to deal with. In fact, the trio of Ayiah, Sulley and Toku were thorn in the flesh of the ‘Baby Lions’ as they freely broke away from their markers.
The second stanza barely started when Cameroon made their three changes but the introduction of Rosin Bella, Steve Kingue and Jules Ngah had little or no bearing on the complexity of the match as the Black Starlets shine under floodlight much to the delight of the crowd who cheered them throughout to the end.
Ghana will now face bottom-placed Gabon on Wednesday, May 17 at the same venue and a win will be enough to seal their place in the last four as well as a ticket to the forthcoming 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India.
Samuel Fabian (Head coach, Ghana)
I must also congratulate Cameroon for giving us a very good match though we took our chances and won 4-0 and just as I noted during the pre-match conference, we are one united football family despite the fact that we had won today. Cameroon started well but the turning point was the first goal we scored which gave our boys the confidence and they never looked back but it was when we scored the fourth goal that I knew that the match was won and lost. We want to focus on the next match and hopefully with a win, we can talk about qualification for the World Cup.
Bertin Ebwelle (Head coach, Cameroon)
Congratulations to the Ghana’s coach Samuel for a good job well done but we can still fight our way in this group. It was the first real test for the boys and they became so frustrated when we couldn’t score despite controlling the game in the early minutes. The boys didn’t mix-up the tactics and I just believe that they were just in experienced but losing this match is not the end of the competition for us. These boys still have much to learn and we would cope well