17 July 2018

Ghana: Satellites Coach Battles for Time Ahead of Benin Tie

BLACK Satellites chief trainer, Jimmy Cobblah, is battling with time to put his charges in fine fettle ahead of the team's Africa Under-20 Nations Cup final qualifier against Benin.

The Satellites take on the Young Squirrels of Benin in the first leg final qualifier of the campaign slated for the Cape Coast Sports Stadium on Saturday August 4, hoping to get the better of their opponents.

However, the Satellites preparation ahead of the crucial tie has been tardy as a result of the injunction placed on the nation's football association by an Accra High Court - spiraling out of the Anas Aremeyaw Anas' investigative piece on corruption in Ghana football.

A two-member FIFA/CAF-constituted liaison team, led by Dr. Kofi Amoah to 'revive' football activities after the Anas expose, may have done well to convince the football authorities to allow the national teams finish off their international assignments.

Indeed, the Satellites were supposed to have reported to camp on June 11, but only resumed training on July 10 - a month of stillness, that could have incapacitating impact on the team's progress.

This is more so when the Ghana Premier League has also been kept on ice.

Coach Cobblah agrees with this assertion but believes Satellites have the capacity to move on.

"There's no doubt about the fact that our training schedule was jolted a bit in view of the happenings in our football, but we have taken everything in our stride.

"We are optimistic of eliminating Benin, but we need to work very hard to pull through. Heartily, the boys appear to be coping very fast and that's good for us," he asserted.

Benin accounted for Gambia's Junior Scorpions 3-2 on aggregate in their last qualifier, while Ghana posted a 2-0 win over Algeria after two legs.

According to Times Sports sources, the Satellites were supposed to have hosted Benin on Sunday July 15, but the date had to be drawn-out following an appeal by the two-member liaison team to FIFA, imploring for more time as a result of Ghana's peculiar situation.

The Satellites have not won the African Youth Championship trophy since 2009, having earlier clinched the coronet in 1995 and 1999.

Niger are hosts of the Under-20 Youth Championship slated for February 24-March 10, 2019.

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