Emmanuel Kwasi Afranie is hoping to make his third stint with the national Under-17 side a memorable one as he reaches the final stages of attempting qualification to next year’s Africa U-17 Championship.
Ghana are in the final stage of the African qualifying and would need to steer past the Gambia over two legs to pick one of the places at the Championship to be hosted by Algeria.
The Black Starlets host the first leg at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday.
Ghana, barely a month ago edged out the Gambia to a place at the African Youth Championship after the Under-20 team, the Black Satellites beat the Young Scorpions in the final qualifier. And a double appears insight as the Black Starlets seek to emulate their seniors.
E.K. Afranie, who has had two previous stints with the Black Starlets in 1991 and 1997, winning gold as an assistant coach in 1991 and settling for silver as the head of the technical team six years on is determined to make it to the African Championships.
Impressive test games against established premiership sides, Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko, seem to have improved the Black Starlets’ preparations.
“We have been in camp for sometime and I can say we are ready for the game. We identified our weakness in the several friendly matches and have made the necessary adjustments,” the veteran technical man said.
Despite having an exciting build up towards Sunday’s match, E.K. Afranie is aware of the strength of his opponents.
“The Gambians have a strong side judging from their previous matches, and we will do best to claim a positive result at home,” Afranie told the local media.
The 8th Africa U-17 Championship would be hosted by Algeria in 2009 and it starts from the 19th of March till the 3rd of April 2009. Hosts, Algeria have qualified automatically.
Six other fixtures would be played on the continent this weekend, involving:
Burkina Faso v Rwanda Angola v Zimbabwe Namibia v Malawi Côte d’Ivoire v Niger Guinea v Benin Eritrea v Cameroon