Black Starlets: Five players who have caught the eye at India 2017

The Black Starlets have dazzled many from the Africa U-17 Championship in Gabon to playing at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India. Albeit losing to a resilient Mali side in the final of the African tournament, the Starlets won many admirers over the course of the period. They are full of energy, pacy and above all other things have the ability to entertain. Wastefulness in front of goal has been a running theme but that can be forgiven because it is a fledgling career that needs everything else but unnecessary pillorying. The team unit is good, well drilled and determined but some players have reigned supreme over others and that is what this article seeks to point out. Here are Ghana’s top five players who have become cult heroes for the team. Eric Ayiah Captain of the side. Our best goal scorer so far at the under 17 level this year and already emulating the likes top forwards at this level like Bashiru Gambo. The forward scored four times for Ghana at the African Youth Championships and has already gotten 3 at the World Cup. His leadership qualities have been one to emulate too. If he continues this way, he could become one of Ghana’s household names. [caption id="attachment_64447" align="alignnone" width="565"] Starlets beat India 4-0 in the final group game[/caption] Emmanuel Toku There is no way Ayiah’s name will be on a list like this without Toku. The left footed midfielder is the U17 version of Newcastle winger Christian Atsu. Similar styles of play, both left footed and hail from the same academy- Cheetah FC in Kasoa. Prior to the African Youth Championship in Gabon, Toku’s manager who doubles as owner of the Cheetah FC told me that he had a boy who is as good as Christian Atsu and it didn’t take long before the continent noticed his skills. Pace, trickery and a good eye for goal are his best qualities. One we definitely have to look forward to seeing more of in the future.  

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Sadiq Ibrahim [caption id="attachment_63696" align="alignnone" width="565"] Sadiq scored Ghana’s opener at the U-17 world cup[/caption] He is one of the few players who did not feature for the Black Starlets at the Africa Youth Championship. The boy from the Right to Dream Academy replaced Patmos Arhin in the squad for the World Cup and hit the ground running in his first game. He scored Ghana’s first goal at the tournament in the game against Colombia and has already garnered quite measurable amount of admirers for how well he has done so far. When he missed Ghana’s round of 16 Game against Niger, there were clear cracks up front. Having him back for the next game will be a major boost for Paa Kwesi Fabin. Edmund Arko Mensah He was by far the most impressive player in the game against Niger – running up and down the flank, chasing every ball and creating chances for the team in general. A little push and he might be one of the best. Richard Danso Danso shot to prominence after starting a few games for WAFA in Ghana’s top flight and actually hitting the ground running in those games. He has a few goals to name and in the game against Niger, he showed just why he has to be included a lot more in the Starlets set up. Danso came on for Toku in the closing stages a rifled his shot past Nigerien goalkeeper to give Ghana a comfortable 2-0 win. Danso was one of the players who did not make it to Gabon but his way of blending in now has been superb. Many have called for him to play up top with Ayiah in two prong attack- that will be a good spectacle if they understand each other properly.
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By Yaw Ofosu Larbi||Ghana ]]>