Niger and Ghana battle for AFCON U17 final spot

Niger and Ghana battle for AFCON U17 final spot
Najeeb Yakubu of Ghana challenged by Djibril Fandje Toure of Guinea during the 2017 Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between Guinea and Ghana at the Libreville Stadium in Gabon on 20 May 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday May 23, 2017. 13:30

The Black Starlets of Ghana are out to secure their spot in the final of the 2017 U17 CAF Africa Cup of Nations when they meet Niger in the semi-final on Wednesday.

The Ghanaians are a difficult side to beat in the junior continental showpiece as they have managed to claim two wins and a draw in Group A.

They demolished Cameroon 4-0, claimed a 5-0 victory over the hosts Gabon and a 0-0 draw against Guinea as they finished as leaders in the group with seven points and nine goals.

Having reached the U17 FIFA World Cup in India set for October, Ghana will be banking on their goalscoring form to beat the Young Menas.

However, coach Paa Kwesi Fabin will guard against complacency and call for respect from his charges as they set their sights on the final.

However, looking at Niger, coach Ismaila Tiemoko has expressed delight in their semi-final finish which comes as a huge boost.

On the other hand, they have booked a flight to India for the global U17 tournament, but they musty first try and down the gutsy Ghanaians.

Niger bagged the second spot with four points in Group B, behind Mali - they bagged a win over Tanzania and drew against Angola as well as a loss to the Eagles of Mali.

“It has been a very long time and we thank God for reaching the semi-finals as well as the World Cup,” said Tiemoko.

“The authorities invested in these boys and this has paid off. Our people have so much faith in this team and I'm happy that we did not disappoint them.

“It is true that Ghana is a very good team but we are at the same level now by reaching the semi-finals along with them.

“Fortunately, we played Ghana and lost to them twice in Accra before coming to Gabon; this will guide us well when we meet in the semi-finals.”

The semi-final clash is set to be staged on Wednesday at 16:30 (CAT) and the venue is Stade de Port-Gentil.

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