African U-20 Championship: Mali beat Ghana to set up an all- WAFU semis

Orange African U-20 Championship, Senegal 2015The semi-final schedules of the Orange Africa U-20 Championship Senegal 2015 are finalised after the final round of matches of the Group phase in Dakar and Mbour.

In Group A, Nigeria finished top with nine points with hosts Senegal as runners-up with four points. Mali topped Group B after beating Ghana for maximum points who equally qualified as runner-up to the last four. South Africa spanked Zambia by 5 goals to 2 in what was dubbed as a match of honour since both teams finished third and fourth respectively in Group B and had to pack up for home.

A 2-2 draw with Nigeria also sent Ivory Coast together with Congo home after finishing third and fourth in Group A.

All four West African countries have qualified to represent the continent at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand in June though there is all the to play for at the 19th edition of the championship.

The first semi – final match is scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 17:00hrs when Nigeria plays Ghana at the Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium in Dakar.

The other semi-final berth between  Mali and Senegal, will take place on Thursday March 19, 2015 at 17:00 hrs also at the Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium in Dakar.

Winners of the semi-finals will clash in the final on Sunday March 22, 2015 at 17:00 hrs at the Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium to be preceded by the third-place match between the losers of the semi – finals.

Sellas Tetteh Teivi, Head Coach, Ghana

“I’m not disappointed with the outcome. I’m not afraid to face Nigeria in the semi-finals. At the beginning, we were not fixed on playing a particular opponent. We will pick ourselves up and try to beat Nigeria. At this competition, every game has its own realities. I made some changes to the team. This is because each of the players has value and can play like the others on the bench. It was an opportunity to test the other players and how they behave on the field. With these replacements, I made an idea of ​​my players who had not played before”.

 Joseph Owusu Bempah, captain of Ghana

“We are not disappointed with the result. Our objective was to finish amongst the top two in our group and qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup. We will go back to training and work on our lapses for the next game. It will be a tough game against a good Nigerian side. But this is football, and anything is bound to happen”.

Fanyeri Diarra, Head Coach, Mali

“We played freely against Ghana and won. Now, we will face the hosts Senegal at the semis. It will be difficult because they will be playing at home. They will have twelfth man behind them. I’m sure some Malian fans will also travel to Dakar to support the team. The real action will be on the pitch not in the stands. We will prove we deserve to be at the competition. We have always played well”.

Ichaka Diarra, Captain, Mali

“Without losing a game in three matches gives us more motivation. Now, we are focused on the next game because it won’t be easy against the hosts. We will do our best scale this step with success”.

BY: Jammeh E.K. Bojang