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Mali out to claim third place at U-17 World Cup – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India

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Mali out to claim third place at U-17 World Cup

Mohamed Camara (L) and Abdulaye Diaby (2-R) of Mali during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 26, 2017. 18:30


Mali will look to claim the bronze medals at the U-17 World Cup when they face Brazil in the third-place playoff match, set for the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday, kick-off at 13h30 CAT.

The Young Eagles suffered a 3-1 loss at the hands of Spain in their semifinal in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday. While the Europeans were deserved winners, Mali could still feel aggrieved at missing out on a legitimate goal from Cheick Doucoure.

The midfielder’s long-range strike would have stood had goal line technology been deployed at the tournament, and it could have turned the game in the Africans’ favour.

Coach Jonas Komla, to his credit, did not use the incident as an excuse for his team’s defeat, acknowledging that Spain were worthy winners. He has turned his attention to helping his team at least claim the honour of third place.

“I can’t comment on the referee’s decision. This is how football is. Maybe that goal could have changed things for us, since we played better in the second half, but Spain deserved the win,” explained Komla.

“In the second half we played well and tried to use our pace in the final 15 minutes but that’s football for you.

“We are among the top four teams in the world (in this age group) so I can’t be disappointed with the tournament. I am happy with how we performed at the World Cup.

“It has been a great experience playing in India and we still have the third-place game against Brazil. We would like to win that.”

Brazil coach Carlos Amadeu was similarly gracious in defeat after watching team suffer a 3-1 loss to England in the other semifinal on Wednesday. Rhian Brewster’s hat-trick put paid to his team’s hopes of winning a third U-17 World Cup title.

“They were effective. They created opportunities and scored. England deserved to win. We played well in the first half but couldn’t score,” said Amadeu.

He added, “I am sad because we would have liked to win. But this happens. We must look into the future. We have one more match to play.

“As a leader, I can’t allow the team to be sad. They must gear up and play next game. Our dream was to play final. But this happens.”

The Mali v Brazil match will be the ‘curtain-raiser’ for the final between England and Spain at the same venue later on Saturday.

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Mali U-17 coach gracious in defeat – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India

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Mali U-17 coach gracious in defeat

Coach of Mali u17, Jonas Komla

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 26, 2017. 13:30


Mali coach Jonas Komla was gracious in defeat after watching his side beaten 3-1 by Spain in the U-17 World Cup semifinals on Wednesday.

The Young Eagles were outplayed by their Spanish counterparts in Navi Mumbai, though there was a controversial moment when their midfielder Cheick Doucoure had a legitimate goal missed by the match officials.

Doucoure’s long-range shot hit the underside of the crossbar, rebounded over the goal line – as confirmed by TV replays – and bounced back into play.

The match officials allowed play to continue and the absence of goal line technology cost the Africans a goal which could have changed the course of the match: Spain were 2-0 up at the time and soon went on to score a third goal to end the game as a contest.

However, Komla downplayed the incident and instead focused on the positives, praising his team for reaching the final four of a global tournament.

“I can’t comment on the referee’s decision. This is how football is. Maybe that goal could have changed things for us, since we played better in the second half, but Spain deserved the win,” said Komla.

“In the second half we played well and tried to use our pace in the final 15 minutes but that’s football for you.

“We are among the top four teams in the world (in this age group) so I can’t be disappointed with the tournament. I am happy with how we performed at the World Cup.

“It has been a great experience playing in India and we still have the third-place game against Brazil. We would like to win that.”

Mali will face Brazil (who were beaten 3-1 by England in their semifinal) at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday for the third-place playoff.

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U-17 World Cup: Mali 1-3 Spain – As it happened – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India

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by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Oct 25, 2017. 18:18


Welcome to live coverage of the 2017 U-17 World Cup semifinal between Mali and Spain from the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

Commentary:
All times CAT

90+6′ – Full time – Spain advance to the U-17 World Cup final. Mali will rightly complain that they were denied a legitimate goal, but the boys in red and blue were the better team in this match and deserve the victory.

90+5′ – Yellow card – Spain’s Jaume is booked for a cynical foul near the edge of his own box.

90+3′ – Drame drags a shot just wide, as Mali throw everyone forward in search of another goal.

90+1′ – There will be five minutes of added time.

90′ – Substitution – Moukhliss makes way for Diego Pampin in Spain’s last change.

87′ – Yellow card – Camara cautioned just a few minutes after coming off the bench.

85′ – Yellow card – Haidara cautioned for a hand in the face of Moukhliss.

84′ – Substitution – Seme Camara replaces Doucoure in Mali’s last change.

83′ – Another Mali chance as a deflected cross makes it awkward for Drame to get a shot away and Fernandez gratefully smothers the low effort.

82′ – A promising Mali attack ends with a tame ball into Fernandez’s hands. The Young Eagles must make the most of every chance to put Spain under pressure…

79′ – Substitution – Ferran makes way for Victor Perea in Spain’s second change.

77′ – Mamadou Traore with a shot… just off target, that had Fernandez worried! Mali’s belief is growing…

74′ – GOAL! Mali 1-3 Spain – Or is it done and dusted? Guillamon slips up in defence and N’Diaye continues his scoring form with a fine finish to beat Fernandez at his near post!

72′ – That is surely game, set and match in favour of Spain. They will go on to face England in Saturday’s semifinal in Kolkata.

71′ – GOAL! Mali 0-3 Spain – Gomez chips in a cross from the left and Ferran gets up to score Spain’s third goal with a downward header!

69′ – Substitution – Mamadou Traore replaces Djemoussa Traore in the second swap for the Africans. Fernandez makes a sharp save at his near post from N’Diaye.

68′ – Substitution – Carlos Beitia replaces Gelabert in Spain’s first change.

65′ – The Mali bench is remonstrating with the referee… they’ve seen the TV replays on the big screen and know it should have been a goal.

63′ – If there was goal-line technology at this tournament, Mali would have been credited with a goal just then! So unlucky for the West Africans!

62′ – Doucoure smashes a great long-range effort which hits the underside of the crossbar, bounces over the goal line and back into play, before N’Diaye heads wide from the rebound!

60′ – Abel Ruiz with another chance to complete his hat-trick but he curls his shot over the target!

59′ – It looks much more likely that Spain will find a third rather than Mali reducing the deficit…

58′ – Gomez with a cut-back to find Ferran on the edge of the box, but the midfielder’s shot drifts just wide!

57′ – Yellow card – Doucoure into the book for a late challenge on Blanco.

54′ – Panic in the Mali box after Miranda puts in a floated cross from the left, but eventually the Young Eagles get it clear.

52′ – Mali shifting their formation a little after that substitution, hoping to work a way back into this game.

50′ – Substitution – Diaby makes way for Mamadi Fofana in Mali’s first change.

48′ – Abel Ruiz runs in behind the defence and this must be a hat-trick… no, saved by Koita! That was a weak effort from the Spanish striker.

47′ – Drame with a shot/cross which runs just too strongly for Traore at the back post.

46′ – Back underway in the second half, no changes from either team at the break.

45+3′ – Half time – There’s not much between the teams in terms of balance of play, but Spain have been more incisive and ruthless in attack and therefore deserve their two-goal lead.

45+2′ – Yellow card – Jiddou goes into the book for a rough aerial challenge.

45+1′ – There will be two minutes of added time.

43′ – GOAL! Mali 0-2 Spain – Spain with a sucker-punch as Gelabert plays a great pass to put Abel Ruiz in on goal and he finishes superbly to make it 2-0!

42′ – Doucoure with a downward header from a corner kick, but the ball drifts wide of the far post!

41′ – Mali on a dangerous counter which ends with Traore heading over the crossbar from Drame’s cross!

40′ – Abel Ruiz almost directs a cheeky flick into the back of the net but he’s denied by a combination of Koita and Diaby!

38′ – Doucoure with an awkward shot on target which Fernandez bats away for a corner kick!

36′ – Kane connects well with a long-range effort, but it’s always drifting wide of the Spanish goal.

34′ – Mali finding it tough to create chances like they did in the opening quarter hour. Spain are keeping it tight at the back.

32′ – Almost 2-0 to Spain as Abel Ruiz gets a touch on Miranda’s left-flank cross, but the ball flashes just wide!

29′ – Gomez cracks a low shot just wide of Koita’s left-hand post, but he was offside anyway.

28′ – Spain controlling possession now with their passing. The Europeans can afford to sit back and let Mali try and force the issue.

25′ – Mali with a free kick just outside the box. Jiddou strikes for goal, but can’t lift his effort up and over the wall.

23′ – Mali with a free kick in a good attacking position, but Kane’s curling cross from the dead ball is well defended by Spain.

22′ – Midway through the first half, Mali will need to work hard to get back in the game from this point.

19′ – GOAL! Mali 0-1 Spain – Abel Ruiz tucks away the penalty and Spain lead the semifinal!

18′ – Penalty! Diaby trips up Gelabert and it’s a spot kick to Spain! No doubt about it this time, the referee had no choice but to penalise a clumsy foul in the box.

17′ – Jiddou with a long-range effort, but it’s over the crossbar and no worry for Fernandez.

15′ – Kane with great footwork to set up Traore with a shooting chance, but his effort after a quick turn is just over the angle over crossbar and post!

14′ – If anything it’s Mali who are looking more comfortable now, knocking the ball around with confidence.

12′ – A fine start to this match, both teams more than happy to commit men forward in attack!

9′ – N’Diaye almost takes advantage of confusion in the Spanish defence, poking the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper Alvaro only to see it run just wide of the near post!

8′ – Great footwork from Gelabert on the edge of the box, he makes space for a shot but pulls the ball wide of Koita’s left-hand post!

6′ – Drame with a shot with the outside of his foot which deflects off a defender and flashes just wide!

5′ – Spain’s Gelabert tumbles in the box under a challenge from Diaby and Mali are somewhat lucky not to concede a penalty  kick!

3′ – The subsequent corner kick brings another heart-in-mouth moment for Mali. Spain have started strongly, they look full of confidence.

2′ – Mali goalkeeper Koita with a great save to keep out a volley from Sergio Gomez! Spain very nearly claim an early lead…

1′ – Kick-off – We are underway in Navi Mumbai! Mali wear all yellow, while Spain are in red and dark blue.

16h20 – Our referee for this match is Japanese official Ryuji Sato.

16h10 – We can inform you that the winners of this match will face England in the final in Kolkata on Saturday. The English defeated Brazil 3-1 in the first semifinal earlier today, with Rhian Brewster scoring a hat-trick.

16h00 – Half an hour to kick-off, here are the starting XIs:

Mali: Youssouf Koita, Boubacar Haidara, Djemoussa Traore, Fode Konate, Hadji Drame, Salam Jiddou, Abdoulaye Diaby, Mamadou Samake, Ibrahim Kane, Lassana N’Diaye, Cheick Doucoure

Spain: Alvaro Fernandez, Mateu Jaume, Juan Miranda, Hugo Guillamon, Victor Chust, Antonio Blanco, Ferran Torres, Mohamed Moukhliss, Abel Ruiz, Sergio Gomez, Cesar Gelabert

 

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U-17 World Cup: Mali v Spain – LIVE – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India

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by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Oct 25, 2017. 15:43


Welcome to live coverage of the 2017 U-17 World Cup semifinal between Mali and Spain from the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

Live Commentary (press F5 to refresh):
All times CAT

16h00 – Half an hour to kick-off, here are the starting XIs:

Mali: Youssouf Koita, Boubacar Haidara, Djemoussa Traore, Fode Konate, Hadji Drame, Salam Jiddou, Abdoulaye Diaby, Mamadou Samake, Ibrahim Kane, Lassana Ndiaye, Cheick Doucoure

Spain: Alvaro Fernandez, Mateu Jaume, Juan Miranda, Hugo Guillamon, Victor Chust, Antonio Blanco, Ferran Torres, Mohamed Moukhliss, Abel Ruiz, Sergio Gomez, Cesar Gelabert

 

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Ghana U-17 goalkeeper apologies for error in quarterfinal loss – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India

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Ghana U-17 goalkeeper apologies for error in quarterfinal loss

Danlad Ibrahim and Faisal Osman of Ghana during the 2017 Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Ghana and Mali at the Libreville Stadium in Gabon on 28 May 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Oct 24, 2017. 11:00


Ghana U-17 goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim has apologised for his error which cost the team a goal in their World Cup quarterfinal loss to Mali this past weekend.

Ibrahim was directly responsible for Djemoussa Traore’s goal, which proved to be the decisive strike in Mali’s 2-1 win.

The goalkeeper attempted to sprint off his line to make a clearance, but his misjudgment only made it easier for Traore to find the back of the net.

“Sometimes when playing in the rains, the gloves get so wet and slippery,” Ibrahim told the GNA.

“I made my mind to push the ball out because I didn’t want to take the chance of trying to grab it. There was not so much power behind the ball and I didn’t get the movement of the ball well.

“It pains me a lot that the team couldn’t go beyond this stage. We had plans of taking the name of Ghana high in this competition but it didn’t work ou

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Drame: No matter the conditions, Mali U17 go out to win – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India

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by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Oct 23, 2017. 10:00


Malian Under-17 international Hadji Drame is happy to have fired the Junior Eagles into the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup semi-finals.

There was much disquiet behind the scenes prior to kick-off at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Saturday, as 48 hours of incessant rain threatened to cast doubt on the quarter-final match between Mali and Ghana.

This sense of uncertainty did not affect the players in the Malian dressing room, however. Mali beat their Ghana counterparts 2-1 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, India on Saturday.

“The weather is not something we worry about,” Drame told FIFA.com.

The 17-year-old striker opened the scoring for Mali in the 15th minute, before Djemoussa Traore made it 2-0 in the 61st minute. Mohammed Kudus netted for Ghana in the 70th minute.

“No matter the conditions, we go out onto the pitch with the intention of winning. We played well and used the ball intelligently,” he continued.

“Ghana played a lot of high balls, so we tried our best to get the ball back down on the deck. We kept our heads, and that made the difference in the end.”

Mali, who finished second in the 2015 U17 World Cup finals, will face Spain in the semi-final clash at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, India on Wednesday

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Iraq coach: Mali looked like an U-23 team – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India

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Iraq coach: Mali looked like an U-23 team

Mohamed Camara (L) and Abdulaye Diaby (2-R) of Mali during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 19, 2017. 14:00


Iraq coach Qahtan Al-Rubaye has stopped just short of accusing Mali of age cheating at the ongoing U-17 World Cup in India.

The Asian U-17 champions were given a 5-1 thrashing by their African counterparts Mali when the teams in a last 16 clash in Margao on Tuesday.

The Young Eagles enjoyed a speed and size advantage over the Iraqis, with Hadji Drame, Lassana N’Diaye, Fode Konate and Seme Camara sharing the five goals between them.

“They sometimes look like they are an U-23 team and not in the same category as us (U-17),” said Al-Rubaye in the aftermath of the match.

“It’s quite visible in the way they play, the way they shoot and their abilities, like speed and physicality.

“It’s unfair sometimes because there is a big difference between African teams and others.”

African sides have been guilty of age cheating in junior tournaments in the past. The U-17 World Cup winners in 2015, Nigeria last year had half their squad at the age group ruled ineligible for an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) screening.

Yet Mali coach Jonas Komla shrugged off any insinuations that his side may be fielding overage players.

”In football, it is important to accept the results. In a tournament of this stature, there are clear rules and testing for every player is performed before the World Cup. We have passed all the required tests and guidelines, so you have to accept it,” said Komla.

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U-17 World Cup: Ghana 2-0 Niger – As it happened – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India

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by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Oct 18, 2017. 15:23


Welcome to coverage of the 2017 U-17 World Cup last 16 match between Ghana and Niger from the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

Commentary:
All times CAT

90+6′ – Full time – Done and dusted, Ghana are deserved winners and will face fellow Africans Mali in the quarterfinals on Saturday! A brave effort from Niger, who can take pride from having made it to the second round in their tournament debut.

90+2′ – Yellow card – Niger’s Soumana booked for a rash challenge in midfield.

90+1′ – Substitution – Niger’s second change sees Wa Massamba make way for Hamid Galissoune.

90′ – GOAL! Ghana 2-0 Niger – Danso with a superb long-range strike to make it 2-0 and that has surely killed off Niger!

86′ – Penalty saved! Ayiah takes the spot kick and looks for the same part of the net he scored in from the first half, but Lawali makes a fine save this time!

85′ – Substitution – Richard Danso replaces Toku in Ghana’s final change.

84′ – Penalty! Another spot kick to Ghana, with Idrissa tripping Toku in the box. A clear foul, no doubt about it, and this is Ghana’s chance to kill off Niger.

81′ – Lawali and Yakubu collide at a Ghana corner kick. It’s adjudged a foul from the Black Starlets player and both are down receiving treatment.

78′ – Substitution – Mohammed Iddriss replaces Gyamfi in Ghana’s second change.

77′ – Substitution – Karim Tinni replaces Sofiane in Niger’s first change.

76′ – Niger ‘keeper Lawali is now down and calling for treatment. We’ve had several injury breaks in this second half…

73′ – Mensah crosses from the right, Arko-Mensah gets up to meet the ball but sends his header well off target.

70′ – Twenty minutes of regulation time to play. Ghana’s one-goal lead is a perilous one, though Niger have yet to really threaten in the final third.

66′ – Mensah with the miss of the tournament, somehow putting the ball over the bar from just a metre or so out! It was easier to score than put it over!

65′ – Toku with a great dummy to open space for a curling shot which is well saved by Lawali! The best moment of the second half so far.

64′ – Substitution – Ghana’s first change sees the injured Owusu make way for John Otu.

62′ – Owusu has gone down for Ghana and he’s calling for a substitution.

61′ – Past the hour mark in Navi Mumbai, Ghana hold the advantage thanks to Eric Ayiah’s penalty late in the first half.

58′ – Ghana’s Toku receiving some treatment after suffering a kick to the right shin. He’ll be stretchered off and that could well be the end of his game…

56′ – Ghana with a sustained spell of pressure, but as Ayiah tries to get a shot away on the edge of the box he is crowded out by several orange-clad defenders.

52′ – Niger blow a great attacking opportunity with an over-hit pass. The Young Menas have wasted several such chances through the match.

48′ – Yellow card – Ghana’s Mensah is booked for a rough aerial challenge.

46′ – Back underway in the second half, no changes from either team at the break.

45+5′ – Half time – Ghana lead at the break thanks to that late, late penalty. Given the Black Starlets’ dominance, you’d say they are good value for their one-goal advantage.

45+4′ – GOAL! Ghana 1-0 Niger – Ayiah dusts himself off and coolly finishes from the penalty to put Ghana ahead!

45+3′ – Penalty! – Idrissa with a clear foul on Ayiah and Ghana have a spot kick late in the half!

45+1′ – Arko-Mensah with a chance to play in a dangerous cross from a free kick out wide, but the midfielder puts his delivery straight for a goal kick.

45′ – There will be four minutes of added time.

43′ – Namata makes a superb tackle on Arko-Mensah in the penalty area… he had to time that perfectly to prevent giving away a spot kick.

40′ – Lawali has to make a save from Yakubu’s awkward cross from the right flank which threatened to drift into the goal.

39′ – Toku with a fiercely-hit shot which is blocked by a defender, before Ayiah sends an effort high and wide from the rebound.

37′ – Snappy passing from Ghana to open up space for Sulley to shoot, his effort was scuffed at goal and comfortably saved by Lawali.

34′ – Ayiah with a sight of goal, but he snatches at it too quickly and slices the ball wide of the mark.

33′ – Niger’s Sofiane steps on the ankle of Toku and is perhaps a little fortunate not to be booked for that challenge.

30′ – Idrissa with a desperate clearance from Ayiah’s dangerous ball into the box. It seems only a matter of time until Ghana find a way through…

27′ – Ghana corner kick and goalkeeper Lawali makes an excellent punch under pressure. Ghana’s Owusu is penalised for an aerial foul on the gloves-man.

25′ – Fine play by Ghana, Arko-Mensah has a shot from the edge of the box and Lawali makes a super save to keep it at 0-0! The closest we’ve come to a goal in this match.

23′ – Midway through the first half, goalless in Navi Mumbai. Ghana have looked the better team thus far, but Niger are giving a good account of themselves.

19′ – Ayiah looks to sneak in behind to meet a long ball, but he’s penalised for a push on Niger defender Idrissa.

17′ – Great goalkeeping from Ghana’s Danlad as he comes off his line to emphatically punch clear a dangerous cross from Wa Massamba. Took a knock for his troubles, but he’ll be fine after a bit of treatment.

16′ – Past the quarter hour mark, still goalless between Ghana and Niger. No genuine chances at either end so far.

13′ – Niger’s Ibrahim looks set to break free on the counter attack, but Mensah comes across to make a strong sliding tackle.

10′ – Lovely footwork from Ghana’s Arko-Mensah down the left flank. The Black Starlets look much the more settled and confident side thus far.

8′ – Niger with a couple of corner kicks, but they don’t threaten Ghana from either of them. The Young Menas will need to make the most of their set pieces.

7′ – Gyamfi is back on his feet after some ‘magic spray’, looks like he’ll be okay.

6′ – Ghana’s Gyamfi looks to have picked up a knee and/or ankle injury in challenge with Sofiane.

4′ – Another corner for Ghana, this time Sulley gets a head on it but his effort is mis-timed and sent well wide of the target.

2′ – Early half chance for Ghana’s Sulley as he gets in behind the defence, but goalkeeper Lawali comes quickly off his line and ensures it’s only a corner kick.

1′ – Kick-off – We are underway in Navi Mumbai! Ghana wear all-white, while Niger are in all-orange.

13h20 – A reminder that the winner of this match will meet Mali (who thrashed Iraq 5-1 yesterday) in an all-African quarterfinal on Saturday.

13h10 – Today’s clash will be handled by Portuguese referee Artur Soares Dias.

13h00 – Half an hour to kick-off, here are the starting line-ups:

Ghana: Ibrahim Danlad, Edmund Arko-Mensah, Najeeb Yakubu, Eric Ayiah, Ibrahim Sulley, Emmanuel Toko, Gabriel Leveh, Bismark Owusu, Gideon Mensah, Rashid Alhassan, Isaac Gyamfi

Niger: Khaled Lawali, Yacine Wa Massamba, Nasser Mahaman, Farouk Idrissa, Inoussa Amadou, Habibou Sofiane, Kader Aboubacar, Rachid Soumana, Ibrahim Boubacar, Ibrahim Namata, Salim Abdourahmane

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Ghana, Niger set for all-African battle in last 16 – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India

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Ghana, Niger set for all-African battle in last 16

Ghana’s Sadiq Ibrahim (R) gestures during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 group A soccer match between Colombia and Ghana at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, India, 06 October 2017. EPA/RAJAT GUPTA

by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Oct 16, 2017. 13:00


Ghana and Niger will meet in an all-African last 16 clash at the U-17 World Cup, with their match set for the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday, kick-off at 13h30.

The Black Starlets booked their place in the knockout rounds by finishing top of a tricky Group A. The West Africans were tied on six points with both Colombia and the USA, but their superior goal difference (boosted by a 4-0 win over hosts India in the final round of pool games) saw them placed first.

Despite their strong showing thus far, Ghana have yet to really hit top gear and coach Paa Kwesi Fabin will hope that the do-or-die nature of knockout football inspires his charges to new heights.

The coach has partly blamed the gaze of scouts for his side failing to live up to their full potential: “When the players see that the scouts are around they want to impress, and even if someone is in a better position to score they act selfishly,” he explained.

“It is a big problem for us and we need to tell the boys that the better you play, the more you get recognised.”

Niger are one of the surprise qualifiers for the last 16, with the tournament debutants sneaking into the knockout rounds as one of the four best third-place finishers.

Niger beat North Korea 1-0 in their opening match before suffering 0-4 and 0-2 defeats to Spain and Brazil respectively. The Young Menas will need to bounce back

strongly from those disappointments if they are to pose a challenge to Ghana.

These teams met back in May in the semifinals of the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations: the match in Port-Gentil, Gabon, ended in a goalless stalemate before the Black Starlets won 6-5 on penalties.

The winners will advance into the last eight and face either Mali or Iraq in the first quarterfinal on Saturday in Guwahati.

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Ayiah ecstatic after firing Ghana into knockout stages – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India

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Ayiah ecstatic after firing Ghana into knockout stages

Eric Ayiah of Ghana challenged by Samuel Conte 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
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Oct 13, 2017. 18:00


Ghana Under-17 captain Eric Ayiah is pleased to have inspired his side to victory over India on Thursday.

The Black Starlets thumped the host nation India 4-0 in the 2017 FIFA World Cup Group A match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.

The promising forward netted in each half as Ghana finished at the top of the group and they qualified for the knockout stages.

“The first and the second matches were tough,” Ayiah told the media after the match.

“I know we’ll meet such challenges in the world cup but I know I needed to prove my clout,” he continued.

“I had chances to score in those two game but I didn’t utilize them, so my coach taught me how to be composed in front of goal.

“I heeded to his advise and it helped me perform greatly today.”

The attacker is now two goals behind the tournament’s top goal scorer Amine Gouiri, who has scored four goals for France.

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Ghana thrash India to top Group A – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup

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Ghana thrash India to top Group A

Ghana’s players celebrate after winning the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 group A soccer match against Colombia at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, India, 06 October 2017. EPA/RAJAT GUPTA

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 12, 2017. 18:58


Ghana have won Group A at the U-17 World Cup after thrashing hosts India 4-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday.

The Black Starlets finished level on six points with both Colombia and USA (the former beat the latter 3-1 in a simultaneous match in Mumbai), but their handsome goal difference of +4 saw them top the log and claim automatic progression into the last 16.

Ghana were on the front foot from early on, but they struggled to create clear-cut chances and found Indian goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem a tough man to beat.

However, the Black Starlets remained patient and were finally rewarded a couple of minutes before the half-time break, with skipper Eric Ayiah providing a fine finish to an incisive passing movement.

It took just seven minutes of the second half for Ghana to double their advantage and again it was a case of Ayiah finishing off a good team move, with the West Africans able to slice open the hosts’ defence.

The match looked set to end at 2-0, with Ghana seemingly happy to take a two-goal win, but news that Colombia were leading the other group match sparked the Black Starlets back to life.

They claimed two late goals through Mohammed Kudus and Emmanuel Toku in the 86th and 87th minutes respectively – the additional strikes saw Ghana rise clear of Colombia and the USA on goal difference.

Ghana will face a third-placed team from either Group C or D in their last 16 clash in Navi Mumbai on October 18.

Ghana (1) 2 (Aiyah 43’ 52’, Kudus 86’, Toku 87’)

India 0

Ghana: I. Danlad, N. Yakubu, B. Terry Owusu, G. Mensah, R. Alhassan, I. Gyamfi, G. Leveh, S. Ibrahim (E. Toku 56’), I. Sulley, E. Arko-Mensah (M. Kudus 76’), E. Ayiah (R. Danso 82’)

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Guinea eye U17 World Cup knockout stages – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India

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by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Oct 12, 2017. 15:00


Guinea will lock horns with Germany in their third match at the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup on Friday.

Kick-off is at 13h30 CAT.

The Group C match is set to take place at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the Indian city of Kochi.

The Junior Elephants drew 2-2 with Costa Rica in their previous group match in Margao, India on Tuesday.

The draw sees Guinea placed fourth on the Group C standings with one point. They are two points behind second-placed Germany with one game left.

Fandje Toure, who was on the scoresheet for the Junior Elephants against Costa Rica, will look to fire the African side to victory on Friday.

Meanwhile, Germany were thumped 4-0 by Iran in their previous group match in Margao on Tuesday.

The defeat left Germany placed second on the Group C standings with three points. They are three points behind the leaders Iran.

Jann-Fiete Arp, who scored for Germany against Costa Rica, is the dangerman for the European side.

Referee John Pitti, who is from Panama, will be in charge of the match between Guinea and Germany.

The winner between the two sides will advance to the knockout stages.

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Ghana U-17 star in ‘stable condition’ after head injury – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India

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by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Oct 10, 2017. 21:00


Ghanaian defender Abdul Razak Yussif is reportedly in a stable condition following the head injury he suffered in the U-17 World Cup on Monday.

Yussif suffered a sickening head-to-head collision with American captain Josh Sargent in a Group A match and was knocked out cold.

He was rushed to hospital in New Delhi, where he is receiving treatment and underwent cranial and cervical CT scans.

GHANASoccernet reports that he is “stable and conscious” but will need to remain in hospital for several days to undergo further observation.

This means Yussif will play no part in Ghana’s final group stage match against India on Thursday, 12 October.

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Niger look to stun European champs Spain – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India

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by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Oct 09, 2017. 18:00


Niger will square off with Spain in their second game at the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup on Tuesday.

Kick-off is at 13h30 CAT.

The Group D encounter will be played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the Indian city of Kochi.

The Junior Menas secured a 1-0 win over North Korea in their first match which was played in Kochi on Saturday.

The victory left the tournament-debutants placed second on the Group D standings with three points. They are only behind the leaders Brazil on goal-difference.

Salim Abdourahmane, who scored Niger’s goal against North Korea, will be keen to inspire the 2017 U17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) fourth-placed finishers to victory over Spain.

Meanwhile, Spain suffered a 2-1 defeat to Brazil in their maiden game which was played in Kochi on Saturday.

As a result, the Junior Red Fury are placed third on the Group D table without a single point. They are only ahead of fourth-placed North Korea on goal-difference.

The 2017 U17 European Championship winners will look to their inspirational captain Abel Ruiz when they take on Niger.

Referee Enrique Cáceres, who hails from Paraguay, will be in charge of the game between Niger and Spain.

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Mali back on track in India – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup

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by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Oct 09, 2017. 15:43


African champions Mali bounced back to winning form in the U-17 World Cup with an emphatic 3-0 win over Group B rivals Turkey at the Dr DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Monday.

Following a disappointing 3-2 loss to Paraguay on Friday, this victory for the Eaglets brings them right back into contention for the last 16, and they will be expected to advance into the next round with a victory against New Zealand in their final pool match on Thursday.

The West Africans had to be patient in this match, waiting until the 38th minute of the first half to move ahead after Hadji Drame provided the assist for Traore Djemoussa to beat Turkey goalkeeper Ozer Berke.

The second goal arrived midway through the second half, with Lassana N’Diaye netting to effectively kill off the game and seal the three points for Mali.

The Eaglets wrapped up their scoring in style when substitute Cheick Doucoure provided the assist for Fode Konate to score in the 86th minute and make it an emphatic 3-0.

The other Group B match between Paraguay and New Zealand will be played in Navi Mumbai later today.

Turkey 0

Mali (1) 3 (Djemoussa 38’, N’Diaye 68’, F. Konate 86’)

Turkey: Berke, Sahan, Ozan, Ahmed, Kerem, Malik, Atalay (Recep 46’), Ismail (Emirhan 74’), Umut, Yunus, Berk

Mali: Koita, B. Haidara, Djemoussa, F. Konate, M. Camara, H. Drame (M. Traore 76’), Salam (Doucoure 83’), A. Diaby, M. Samake, Kane, N’Diaye (M. Toure 81’)

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Tiemogo: Niger will make people talk in India – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup

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by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Oct 06, 2017. 18:00


Niger coach Soumaila Tiemogo says he cannot guarantee that the Junior Menas will go on to win the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup title in India.

The Junior Menas made history when they qualified for the finals for the first time after finishing fourth at the 2017 Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.

As a result, Niger were pitted against Korea DPR, Brazil and Spain in Group D, and Tiemogo spoke to FIFA.com ahead of the global competition.

“Unlike senior level, when you know who the star players are, it’s harder to judge in youth football,” said Tiemogo.

“If you asked Niger to knock out Ghana or Gabon at senior level, you’d doubt they could do it. But that’s just what we did at junior level. There’s a lot of talent in Niger.”

The Junior Menas will take on Korea in their first Group D match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, India on Saturday.

“I can’t guarantee that we’ll go on and win the competition but I can guarantee that we’ll make people talk about us, just like we did in Africa,” he added.

“Maybe we can’t work miracles, but we can do our best.”

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Ghana eye winning start in U17 World Cup – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India

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Ghana eye winning start in U17 World Cup

Eric Ayiah of Ghana challenged by Elian Christely Boueni Mayobolo of Gabon during the 2017 Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between Ghana and Gabon at the Port Gentil Stadium, Gabon on 17 May 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Oct 05, 2017. 12:00


Ghana will face off with Colombia in their first match of the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup on Friday.

Kick-off is at 13h30 CAT.

The Group A encounter is scheduled to take place at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, India.

The Black Starlets qualified for this year’s finals as the 2017 Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) runners-up.

Charity Stars forward Eric Ayiah, who scored four goals at the U17 AFCON finals, is the dangerman for the Black Starlets.

Ghana have won the U17 World Cup twice (in 1991 and 1995) and they will be under the guidance of Paa Kwesi Fabin in India.

Meanwhile, Colombia booked their place in this year’s tournament after finishing fourth in the 2017 South American Under-17 Championship.

Jaminton Campaz, who plays for Deportes Tolima, is a key player for the Junior Coffee Growers – having scored three goals at the Championship.

Colombia’s head coach is Orlando Restrepo and the Junior Coffee Growers have never won the U17 World Cup.

The last time Ghana and Colombia met in the U17 World Cup was in 2007. The Black Starlets won 2-1 in South Korea.

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Ghana U-17 coach plays down his team’s chances – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India

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by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Oct 04, 2017. 13:00


Samuel Paa Kwasi Fabin, the coach of Ghana’s U-17 team, has played down their chances of winning the U-17 World Cup which kicks off this weekend.

The Black Starlets will open the tournament in India by playing in the first Group A match against Colombia in New Delhi on Friday.

Ghana are two-time winners of the U-17 World Cup (1991 & 1995), though they are appearing at the global tournament for the first time since 2007.

The Black Starlets’ pedigree in the tournament and their strong showing at the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year has raised hopes that they will be one of the strongest contenders.

But coach Fabin insists that his job is to develop players for the senior Black Stars side, not win trophies.

“I don’t like it when people try to put pressure on the boys,” Fabin said on GHOne TV.

“When you talk about the U-17 tournament, you’re talking about developing players for the future than aiming for the trophy.

“I was so delighted to see five of my players from the 2013 squad handed call-ups into the senior national team; it’s great, it means one thing – which is development.

“This is the notion behind what we’re building.”

Ghana will clash with Colombia at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Friday, kick-off at 13h30 CAT.

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