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Ghana made history at U-20 World Cup
African champions, Ghana beat Brazil 4-3 on penalties to become the first African country to win the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
The victory gave Africa its first ever gold in the competition and was a sweet victory for the Satellites who avenged a 1993 loss to the Brazilians in the finals.
In a nail-biting final at the Cairo Stadium, the Black Satellites overcame all odds, including the sending off of David Addo in the 37th minute, to hold the South American champions after 120 minutes of good football and become third time lucky with the success, having lost the two previous finals to South American opponents, Argentina and Brazil.
The hero for the night was Ghana's goalkeeper Daniel Agyei who pulled off several saves and frustrated the Brazilians.
With the African and South American champions unable to break the deadlock, they had to resort to the penalty shoot-out which also swung heavily in favour of Brazil until Ghana's dramatic victory.
During the penalty shoot-out, Alan Kardec and Dede Ayew, and Giuliano and Inkoom scored from the spot to make it 2-2. Brazil went ahead 3-2 when Douglas Costa scored and Jonathan Mensah missed.
Brazil's Souza saw his penalty saved, but Bright Addae also failed to reduce the deficit when his strike was saved by Rafael.Maicon had the opportunity to seal victory for Brazil but he shot over the bar.
Dominic Adiyiah then scored to make it 3-3 and send the shoot-out into sudden death. Then Agyei denied Alex Teixeira before Agyemang-Badu scored to give Ghana a sweet 4-3 victory and a revenge over Brazil who beat them in the 1993 finals.
Ghana's striker Adiyiah scored eight goals to win the golden boot. He was three goals ahead of Hungary captain Vladimir Koman in the race to win the Adidas Golden Shoe, so it was the presentation of the Adidas Golden Ball, which came as the more pleasant surprise to the quietly-spoken 19-year-old.
The team returned home to a tumultuous welcome from thousands of fans following their victory. The welcoming party was led by Vice President John Dramani Mahama, who thanked God for the victory of the team that gave Africa its first Under-20 trophy. He praised the resilience and determination of the team that saw them through the finals, although they were down to 10 men after only 37 minutes of play. He said the victory had shown that Ghana had a bright future in football.
Ghana's President John Evans Atta Mills also praised the team for winning the World Cup in Egypt, describing their performance as wonderful. Former President Jerry John Rawlings also congratulated the team for the dramatic victory, saying it was achieved by dint of sheer hard work.
In related development, Ghana’s senior national football coach Milovan Rajavec has invited several members of the victorious FIFA U-20 World Cup to beef up the senior team – Black Stars. He is expected to invite Captain Andre Dede Ayew, top scorer Dominic Adiyiah and his strike partner Ransford Osei as well as full backs Samuel Inkoom and David Addy, including defender Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu and goalkeeper Daniel Agyei, whose heroics display was key in earning Ghana the 4-3 victory.
"The basic prerequisite to do well is to have a squad capable of playing a series of tough matches in a short time-span, hence my World Cup squad is likely to include many players from the under-20 side which impressed in Egypt," Rajevac said.
He said the performance of the U-20s would give the senior team a major lift ahead of the African Cup of Nations in Angola and the World Cup in South Africa next year. "It will give the senior team a great impetus for the African Nations Cup in January and especially the World Cup finals in South Africa," Rajevac said. - Pana/TAB
Nigeria @ 49 in the Netherlands
Nigerians, friends and well-wishers strolled in twos, fours and then in groups on 6 October 2009 before at the hall of the Bell Air Hotel in Den Haag. The occasion was the 49th independence anniversary of Nigeria organised by the Embassy of Nigeria in the Netherlands.
Having welcomed the guests with a warm handshake and charming smile, the Chief host, Her Excellency, the Nigerian Ambassador to the Netherlands, Dr. (Mrs) Nimota N. Akanbi, flanked by Minister, Mr. A. J. Ashimolowo, took to the podium and delivered a short but powerful speech summarised in three terms: Nigeria is rife for foreign investment; government’s pursuit of 7-point national development agenda and up-coming silver jubilee.
The diplomatic community was duly represented by Ambassadors and high-ranking diplomats. The Chief host and her Kenyan counterpart, H.E. Prof. Ruthie C. Rono soon took to the dancing floor to declare it open, followed by Nigeria women Organisation and other guests.
Although short-lived, the occasion was a memorable one. Guests were delighted with a wide variety of cuisines and drinks.
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