S. Africa wins AYC Fair Play gong
African Youth Championship
Ghana 2-0 Cameroon
Third place play-off
Nigeria 2-1 S. Africa
The Black Satellites of Ghana have won their third African Youth Championship title after defeating Cameroon 2-0 in the final of this year’s 16th edition played yesterday at Amahoro stadium, Kigali.
Ransford Osei netted his sixth and seventh goals of the tournament in the 23rd minute from the near post before he grabbed another goal for Ghana in the 86th minute off a cross from the impressive Samuel Inkoom.
After a strong start from Cameroon, seeking a second title themselves, Ghana was the more dangerous side going forward with two early opportunities falling to Gladson Awakko in an entertaining final.
But it took just one goal in the opening half to shape the destination of the title after Inkoom had dribbled past his marker on the byline and dragged a pass back for Osei to score.
Ghana had more openings and could have doubled their lead but Osei was late to meet a ball across the face of goal by Inkoom.
After the break, the Young Cubs worked tirelessly through Jacques Zoua, Brice Owona and Patrick Ekeng Ekeng to draw level but the Ghana backline defended brilliantly.
Cameroon was on the verge of equalizing just before the hour mark but Ghana’s defence kingpin Jonathan Mensah made a stunning overhead clearance to the ball which hit Inkoom towards the goal posts.
Dominic Adiyiah came close to adding the second but his effort was blocked by the Cameroonian goalkeeper.
Ghana finally put the game beyond the determined Young Cubs when Osei on hand to tap in from close range for his seventh goal that also made him the tournament’s top scorer.
The goal calmed nerves as Ghana instantly relaxed their approach while forcing a third with their bench not in any hurry to make changes.
As time ticked after the second goal, it was Ghana who continued to carve out chances as the match reached its conclusion but the celebrations had already started when the game went into time added on.
Both teams first clashed in the group phase of the competition with the game ending in a 1-1 draw.
The last time the Black Satellites won the silverware in this competition was a decade ago and narrowly missed out in the 2001 finals. Now Sellas Tetteh’s men have joined the list of successful sides of 1993 and 1999 to win AYC gold.
Amajita win Fair Play honor
Nigeria won the third placed beating South Africa 2-1 earlier on Saturday, but the Amajitas won the Fair Play gong which only came as consolation for displaying the finest football in the tournament.
Since the championship started two weeks ago, the South African side, perceived as underdogs surprised many, not least themselves by reaching the semi finals and winning many supporters along the way for their total football.
When they came to Rwanda, no one gave them any chance to go beyond the group stage however, seeking to give hope to the dwindling fortunes of South African football, they kicked off with a bang by beating Ivory Coast and Nigeria to book a semi final ticket and the precious world cup berth.
Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria and South Africa will join hosts Egypt at the Fifa World Youth Championship in September.