Ghana have a chance to clinch a fourth Total Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations title on Saturday in Mauritania when they take on Uganda’s Hippos at the Olympic Stadium in Nouakchott.
Coach Abdul Karim Zito says the Black Satellites players will be motivated by the chance to make history for themselves, winning the fourth title and taking Ghanaian youth football back to the top of the continent.
“They have an opportunity to make a name for themselves. They have an opportunity to write their names in Ghana’s history books. That should be their driving force when we go into the final,” the tactician said.
The tactician, himself a legend of Ghanaian football both as a player and as a coach believes the squad winning mentality is what will drive them to take the Cup back home, saying they have been improving steadily since match day one.
“We finished off third in our group but that did not affect us. We have gone on to show good performances from the quarters to the semi finals and that is because we had to change our attitude and approach games differently,”
“We have a very strong mentality when playing and for us, this is a tournament and not a league. The most important thing is to win but for us we are trying as much as possible to add beauty to goal scoring. We want to have that mentality to win games and that has been the secret for the last two matches,” the coach offered.
He now hopes they can carry that same belief and hardworking attitude to the final.
“Things are going positively for us and we are playing according to our plan. We will try to go into the final and win. When we came here, our target was on the ultimate prize and now we are just one step away,”
“I trust in the players that they have that edge to do it. I have been with some of them from Under-15 and I am not just a coach to them but a father and a friend. We have walked together in this journey and we will do so to the end,” he added.
The former FIFA Under-20 World Cup winners booked a ticket for Sunday’s grand finale after a nervous 1-0 win over Gambia, laying revenge on the Young Scorpions who beat them 2-1 when they met in the group stages.
“I could not let them slap me twice. This time we went and sat down and looked at their game. I also watched their semi-final and we knew what to do to limit their strengths. I am glad that we managed to win though it was hard because they are a very good team,” added the coach.
Since their last conquest at the tournament in Rwanda in 2009, Ghana has only failed to qualify for the tournament once, in 2017 when it was hosted in Zambia.
In 2011 and 2019, they were eliminated in the group stages while in 2013 they lost to Egypt on penalties in the final. They finished third in 2015 after losing to Nigeria in the semis before going on to beat Mali 3-1 in the play-off.
Playing their second final since winning the title, the Black Satellites hope that they will shine once again.