Sellas Tetteh begins another U-20 project as he seeks to add on to his medal haul following successes in 2009 and 2013.
Ghana and Austria will complete the list of four matches pencilled down for the opening day of the 2015 Fifa U-20 World Cup in New Zealand on Saturday.
The two sides from Group B will be hoping to begin their campaign on a bright note, with record holders Argentina tipped to top the group.
In terms of pedigree, the Black Satellites are streets ahead of their European opponents, having won the title in 2009 as the only African side to have recorded that feat, and clinched bronze in 2013.
Before the 2009 triumph, the West Africans had already sealed two silver medals in 1993 and 2001 in Australia and Argentina respectively.
For Austria, their biggest achievement came in 2007, when they finished 4th in Canada. They reached this tournament after finishing in the top six at the Uefa U-19 Championship.
Just like Ghana’s Sellas Tetteh, who is leading the Black Satellites to a third world cup, Austria’s Andreas Heraf, has been in charge of the country’s U-20 since 2008.
Heraf will be missing the services of his talented left-winger Sinan Bytyqi, who is out as a result of a knee injury. However, captain of the side Francesco Lovric and Florian Grillitsch of Stuttgart and Werder Bremen respectively are some of the players he could fall on in hard times.
But Tetteh’s men simply have what it takes to edge past the Austrians in the Group B encounter at the Wellington Regional Stadium.
After finishing third at the Africa Youth Championship, the former Black Stars assistant coach has gone on to augment his squad, coupled with a highly successful pre-tournament preparations.
Highly-rated Cagliari midfielder Godfred Donsah has been drafted into the team, together with Clifford Aboagye, the Adidas Bronze winner at the 2013 edition. Ghana should be presenting one of the best midfields at the tournament.
Also in the mix is Yaw Yeboah, the Manchester City player who was named as the best player at the 2015 Africa U-20 Championship in Senegal two months ago.
Tetteh has been tasked to reach the last four of the tournament. Of course, with his pedigree at the junior World Cup, coupled with Ghana’s performance in recent times, it is a fair expectation. But at his disposal is a different squad that is obviously not as talented as the 2009 team and to some extent, the 2013 side.
Whoever picks the three points in Saturday’s game will have a great cushion towards a straight slot to the knock-out stages.
Top favourites Argentina and minnows Panama will open the Group B battles at the same Wellington Regional Stadium.
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|