Ghana Makes History, Wins U20 World Cup

No Comments » October 17th, 2009 posted by // Categories: Sports



GUARDIAN

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ghana Makes History
… Beat Brazil To Lift FIFA U-20 World Cup
By Ayo Ositelu

GHANA Satellites, that West African country’s Under-20 version of the famous Black Stars of Ghana, made history at the capacity Cairo International Stadium, when they beat pre-tournament favourites and four times champions Brazil 4-3 in a pulsating shoot-out to lift the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

Ghana’s deserved victory in an enthralling and energy-sapping final marked the first time any African country would be winning one of FIFA’s biggest prizes. And it could not have come at a better time than in a year generally referred to as Africa’s year, the year Africa hosted the FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa earlier this year, the just finished Egypt 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup, in a series of world extravaganzas, which will be climaxed by next year’s World Cup to be hosted in Africa, tagged South Africa 2010.

The baton of hosting has already been passed on to Nigeria, by organisers of Egypt 2009, as Nigeria, who will host the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, becomes the cynosure of the world’s eyes later this month.

It was a good omen for Africa when the courageous Ghanaian youngsters played their much-fancied Brazilian counterparts to a standstill despite losing a player to a rather harsh Red Card as early as the 37th minute.

Playing against such adversity, the young Ghanaians proved worthy ambassadors of the Black African race when they played a highly technical and disciplined game to withstand the onslaughts of the free-scoring Brazilians for at least 83 minutes, which included 30 minutes of extra-time after the regulation 90 minutes could not produce a goal from both team.

In spite of the obvious disadvantage, the Ghanaians gave as much as they took from the marauding and goal-hungry Brazilians, who were trying to win the Cup for the fifth time, a feat which would have been second only to Argentina’s six titles.

The hero of the Ghanaian triumph yesterday was striker Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, who scored the last penalty in a nerve-racking penalty shoot-out which went to sudden-death after the two countries lost two penalties each.

Ebony-skinned Dominic Adiyiah won two trophies – the golden ball and golden boot for emerging as the tournament’s top scorer with eight goals.

But Ghana also has their agile goalkeeper, Daniel Agyei, to thank for his role in the entire tournament, and in particular, for saving two penalty kicks in yesterday’s shoot-out. To underscore Agyei’s feat of keeping his country in the penalty contest, anytime his team mate missed a penalty, he caught the next one from the Brazilian penalty-taker.

Incidentally, it was Ghana, which was the first African country to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Africa, while the Black Satellites were the only country left to represent Africa at the quarter-final stage of the U-20 World Cup.

The African and South American champions, who had not lost a game during the competition, keep that proud record intact, but at the end of the day, it was the Black Satellites, who followed in the footsteps of Argentina, victors at Canada 2007, in lifting the famous trophy.

Brazil had the better of the early stages and went agonisingly close to taking the lead early on when Giuliano’s free-kick was put into the box and Alex Teixeira was inches away from connecting with a header. Giuliano prompted A Sele

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