The Ghana national youth football team has advanced to the final of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt. The squad will take on Brazil on Friday, looking for the country's first title at this level.
When they take the field against Brazil Friday at Cairo's International Stadium, the Black Satellites, as Ghana's Under-20 team is known back home, will be aiming for their first championship after two previous unsuccessful final appearances.
Ghana earned a berth in this year's Under-20 World Cup final by seeing off Hungary in the semi-final round Tuesday. Coach Sellas Tetteh was pleased with his squad's performance in the 3-2 victory. "It is a good win to the finals. Zooming into the finals is so important, and we have done that beautifully," he said.
Ghana has blasted its way through the field in Egypt, scoring a remarkable 16 goals in six matches.
They now face perennial power Brazil, a four-time champion at this level, but Tetteh says he is not concerned by the formidable opponent. "We have come a long way and we are ready for any opponent at all. We have scraped through any opponent that comes on our way, and by the special grace of God we will scrape through any opponent we get in the final," he said.
The Black Satellites have battled through some adversity to reach the final, edging South Africa in extra time in the first elimination match, and surviving a pair of exciting 3-2 games that came down to the wire in the quarter and semifinals.
The coach says those close results have relieved any pressure his team might have felt going into the final. "There is no pressure. I have gone through pressure up to this time, so I need a cool head. We come in front of worrying situations, and that is where you see the character of a good coach. And I still believe that in Africa we have been going through this kind of pressure for a pretty long time, so I believe that when it comes we can handle it and lift the cup on Friday," he said.
Ghana also reached the final of the Under-20 World Cup in 1993, losing to Brazil. The Black Satellites were finalists again in 2001, but came up just short of being crowned champions when they lost to Argentina. Brazil claimed the most recent of its four titles in 2003.