Ghana became the first team to qualify for the semi-final at the Total U-17 African Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 after securing a 5- 0 win against hosts Gabon at the Stade de Port Gentil.
In-form striker and captain, Eric Ayiah and midfielder Emmanuel Toku scored a brace each while second-half substitute Patmos Arhin added the other goal for Black Starlets’ second win in as many matches in Group A following Sunday’s 4-0 win against Cameroon.
The victory guaranteed the West Africans one of the continent’s available four slots for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India later this year while the Pantheres have no chance of progressing after also losing 5-1 to Guinea in the opening match of the competition.
Ironically, it was the Pantheres that started the game on a fast tempo and gave nothing away by equally defending in numbers as the home fans cheered them on. But in the 27th minutes, Ayiah put Ghana in the lead from the spot kick for his fourth goal of the championship after he was tripped in the box and five minutes later, Gabon was punished yet again for another defensive blunder when Toku latched on to a loose ball before firing past goalkeeper Brunel Ilagou.
Minutes before the break, striker Fahd Moubeti fluffed a chance for Gabon with only the goalkeeper to beat but his shot bounced off Danladi Ibrahim and a lurking defender cleared away to keep the score line at 2-0 till the end of the first half.
It was Ayiah- Toku show yet again in the second half when they scored in succession in the 58th and 61st minute while Arhin completed the rout in the 76th minute
Meanwhile, in the last round of matches in Group A, Ghana will face Guinea at the Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville on Saturday while Gabon will simultaneously square up against Cameroon in Port Gentil.
Total Man of the Match: Emmanuel Toku(Ghana)
Samuel Fabian (Head Coach, Ghana)
I want to congratulate Gabon for giving us a very good match and they really kept us on the edge in the early minutes until we regained momentum and controlled the game. Today, we have achieved the first objective of qualifying for the World Cup. We are not playing the cup final against Guinea on Saturday rather it is just the last match of Group A.
Pierre Mfoumbi (Head Coach, Gabon)
It has been hard for the boys since we lost the first game to Guinea and they really wanted to correct this against Ghana but unfortunately, we lost again today. Who is to be blamed? The first person to be blamed is the coach but everyone can see that we did our best unfortunately things did not come our way; we have to consider that we are only together for just two months. Of course, our objective was to qualify but we couldn’t achieve this but I believe there is future for these boys.