Just one match separates Ghana from a sixth appearance at the grand final of the Africa U20 Cup of Nations.
The Black Satellites are scheduled to play Gambia in the semifinals clash at the Stade Olympique de Nouakchott on Monday at 4pm GMT.
Ghana, three time winners, progressed to the last four of this years edition of the competition after seeing off Cameroon 4-2 during penalty shoot outs (1-1 after extra time).
The team however had a set back in the group stage when Gambia shocked the Black Satellites with a 1-2 defeat in the final group stage match.
The defeat saw the Ghanaian side slide to third behind the Gambians on the Group C log with four points after a 4-0 win over Tanzania and a goalless draw in the second game against Morocco.
The National U20 side consider Monday’s game as a perfect opportunity to avenge the shocking defeat they suffered in the group stage and captain Afriyie Barnieh says the team is fully aware of what’s at stake at this stage of the competition and will go all out to beat the Gambians to secure a place in the finals.
“There is no second chance in this stage and we are 100% ready to win and get to the finals”.
“When we lost to Gambia in the group stage we understood that in football such surprises are normal. We are well prepared now, we know what is at stake and we are fully ready for this game”, he said.
Head Coach Abdul Karim Zito also believes his side has been offered an opportunity to correct the errors they made in their defeat to Monday’s opponents.
“When u get another opportunity like this, you get to correct your errors. This is a platform which can get us to the final which has been our target in this competition. The attitude for this game will never be same as our attitude for the group stage match which we lost”
“For sure our character has to change for this game because this stage is more crucial for us than the group stage”.
“The players showed a very positive attitude against Cameroon and we won. Tomorrow we may see same players but a lot will change in terms of their attitude towards the game and our approach”, the head coach intimated.
Cosch Zito’s side has Ben boosted with the return of pacy winger Mohammed Sulemana, Patrick Mensah and Benjamin Aloma who were all out with injuries.
Ghana’s Percious Boah and Abdul Fatawu Issahaku are amongst five remaining players in the competition to have scored two goals so far.
Issahaku also has all two of his goals in contention for goal of the tournament.
Black Satellites goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim who has conceded three goals so far could also snatch goalkeeper of the tournament if he excels in the remaining matches.
The Gambians made it to this stage of the competition after beating Central Africa Republic 2-0 in their quarterfinals clash played on Friday.
While Ghana has won this competition thrice 1993, 1999, 2009 and were 1st runners up in 2001 and 2013. The Black Satellites were also bronze medalists in 1991 and 2015.
Gambia were 2nd runner ups in the 2007 edition of the tournament.
Winner of the semi-finals game between the two sides will advance to the final match to face the winner of the other semis game between Tunisia and Uganda.
The final match is scheduled for March 6 at the Stade Olympique de Nouakchott.