Satellites must dream big again
A couple of days ago, Ghana’s national youth team – Black Satellites, were drawn into Group C of the 2021 Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations to be staged in Mauritania.
Though the focus of many fans may have been stolen away by COVID-19 concerns, the cynosure would still be on the youth team whose string of stunningly sterling performances in the past dazzled all, and won them thousands of disciples across the world.
Guess nobody has yet forgotten about the 2009 historic feat of the Satellites (led by Andre Dede Ayew) who became Africa’s only side to annex the FIFA Under-20 World Cup staged in Egypt?
Ahead of that bravado at the global stage, the brave Ghanaians in the same year had conquered the continent in Rwanda, beating Cameroon in the grand finale to clinch the diadem for the third time since its inception in 1979.
Sadly, since that historic feat, the Satellites have been struggling fatally as they have been swatted aside on a number of occasions in qualifiers to the World Cup.
Indeed, the team’s finest performance on the African stage in recent times was a third-place finish in 2015, six years ago.
In less than three weeks, specifically on February 14 (Valentine Day), the Satellites will begin yet another campaign to hunt for a ticket to the World Cup to be held in Indonesia, later in the year.
It appears that this time, the omen is good – perhaps, so it looks.
In December of last year, the Satellites sprang from behind to upset Burkina Faso 2-1, swaggering away with the WAFU B U-20 Championship trophy at the Stade Charles De Gaulles in Porto Novo in Benin. It was a thrilling piece of news, particularly for the Kurt Okraku Ghana Football Association (GFA) administration.
Dead-ball specialist Percious Boah was the Black Satellites hero, as he set up a goal before firing the winner from a free-kick to hand his country the title in the Benin capital. It was the crucial dazzler that took Ghana to the Mauritania 2021 championship where they would begin their campaign against Tanzania, then take on Morocco before squaring off with The Gambia in their final game.
As the team put their act together in preparation for the Mauritanian challenge, we can only wish them the best of luck, but urge the handlers to select a solidly winsome side capable of bringing honour to the nation.
We need players who aside from their skill and dexterity, would be prepared to die on the pitch for the result – rather than give up when they go down. We need a squad that is patriotic and willing to drive beyond the normal distance.
We need a doughty-charactered bunch of players who would see the Holy Grail and dash for it with all the strength and might they can muster. We need a team that is famished for glory and would not be swayed by anything aside a resolution to fetch gold.
The players that carved the historic feat of 2009 are not super humans. They are not out-of-this-world. They were simply fearless characters who dared to dream and pursued their ambition – ambition to carry Ghana aloft and make her the first African country to win the FIFA Under-20 World Cup. And, it was done – and accomplished in style as no other team but Brazil were beaten in the final for the Golden Fleece.
All eyes on you, Satellites. Make the nation proud again!
PlainTalk with JOHN VIGAH