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U17 World Cup: Desperate Niger vow to eliminate arch-rivals Ghana in knock-out phase

October 18, 2017 1:07 PM
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Niger, making their maiden appearance at the U-17 World Cup 2017, reached the round-of-16 by scoring just one goal from three group stage matches and conceding six along the way to Spain and Brazil.

Their defensive shortcomings were severely exposed by their highly experienced opponents at the group phase of the tournament in India.

Despite these deficiencies Niger claim they can upset two-time champions Ghana but sports betting at 10Bet are among the several bookmakers predicting a win for the Black Starlets.

“Every team coming to the World Cup wants to win and we think the same way,” Niger coach Ismaila Teimoko said.

Ghana is prepared with attacking midfielders who can penalize exhausted defenders and this is likely to surface when two African countries meet at the D.Y. Patil stadium on Wednesday.

“We lost two friendlies against Ghana before the African Cup," Teimoko said.

"The experience helped us hold them 0-0 in the tournament and now when we meet, we hope after losses and a draw, this time the result will be a victory.

"It will be a tough game and mental rather than technical ability will decide.”

Acquainted with Ghana's dexterity and notoriety, there is no better level for the Niger players to demonstrate their prowess than the FIFA competition pre-quarterfinal clash.

Niger eliminated Nigeria over two legs in the African U-17 qualifying round, and has done enough at the World CDup to ensure it progress and has little to lose against another powerful opponent.

Niger's powerful centre-back Rachid Soumana, who is contracted with Ghanaian club Tudu Mighty Jets FC, can secure a big move to Europe if he is to continue his showing at the knockout phase.

“Rachid is a rate player, no one else plays for any club,” said the coach.

Nicknamed the Black Starlets, the young players from Ghana carry the big expectations on the young shoulders of their player, similar to that of the United States.

Both nations are suffering a low after the seniors missed qualification for the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, will be strongly counting on the players at the tournament to start building the foundations for their senior national teams for future years.

Topping Group A has automatically made Ghana the favourites in the group that includes the United States and coach Paa Kwesi Fabin says the side must not be swollen headed.

“Winning all matches does not mean you underrate any team,” said coach Samuel Fabin.

Fabin expressed some level of respect for Niger having met them at the African U-17 championships.

“We played in Africa and won on penalties. They have the belief that they can overcome us. It will be tricky as we know each other so well.”


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