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India vs Ghana Preview: In the minds of the coaches

Competition: 2017 Fifa U-17 World Cup

Match: India vs Ghana, Group A

Venue: Jawaharial Nehru stadium, New Delhi

Kickoff: 1430GMT

Referee: Zitouni Abdelkader (TAH)

RECAP: The Ghana vs India myth

Tale: “There was epic football match between India and Ghana. The Indians were well known to have specialized voodoo magic and tricks. The match began and every time the Indian hit the ball towards goal, the Ghanaians saw the ball as coal pot and didn’t stop it. India was leading the game to 100-0 goals against the team of Ghana.

A Ghanaian hero stepped up, and decided that he would not let this happen and hit the coal pot and scored a goal. A sad fate, after scoring the goal he died.

Subsequent to that, the Indian team was disqualified by Fifa.”

Such a tale we grew to hear in various forms!. Well, it’s 2017 and we might get to relive it as the two countries face off in a crucial World Cup match at the U-17 level on Thursday. Kickoff is at 1430GMT.

India have been good hosts of the tournament so far. And their team has equally impressed despite losing both group games so far.

With India’s remarkable performance in their last game against powerhouse Colombia, one will hope to see a feisty contest with Ghana’s Black Starlets scheduled for the Capital’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Both teams are in must-win situations – any victory gets the Ghanaians a straight qualification while the Indians need more goals as well as results from other groups to stand the chance of advancing to the Round of 16 stage.

Coach Luis Norton de Matos – India

Having seen his charges score their first ever goal in a Fifa World Cup finals, the Portuguese manager will be hoping the team can now be more confident in front of goal.

Ghana, two-time U-17 World Cup champions will pose far difficult questions for sure. It is not just a perception. Coach Luis Norton de Matos strongly believes so.

“Thursday is the most difficult match of the group because the African players bring a lot of incredible skills with them and are very unpredictable. They are very fast and strong. We must try to bring out all out strongest points on the pitch,” the coach said ahead of training on Wednesday.

With Ghana having a similar style of play as the Colombians, coach De Matos had other insights to offer.

“Ghana have four or five players who you call game-changers. Their two wing backs constantly overlap to support the attack. And like the South Americans, their wingers are always a threat. Their No. 18 (Mohammed Iddris) is their key organiser. He is the heartbeat of the team.”

India coach de Matos appears to have done his homework well and even warns that the “boys are ready to die on the pitch…”

Coach Samuel Paa Kwasi Fabin – Ghana

The coach of Ghana, European clubs’ nursery for decades now, is facing a different problem. Scouts from across the world have flown in to pick out future stars who could be sold at a premium.

Speaking to the press on Wednesday, Coach Paa Kwasi said: “The players know that they are being watched. It affects the team game and pretty often individuals forget their collective responsibility and resort to showboating. We have to be careful.”

The first aim of the Black Starlets on Thursday will be to keep the partisan crowd quiet.

“We must find ways to keep the crowd silent. They make a lot of noise.

“I have watched India and I was impressed by their second match. They hit the post twice against Colombia and were just unlucky to lose. They have improved.

“Definitely, there will be pressure on us but I have told the boys to keep cool and play their game.

“The most important thing is to get a win and not necessarily beautiful football,” he noted.

The Black Starlets won their first game against Colombia but lost the second against USA. Ghana and Colombia are on same points. A win against India will ensure their passage to the next round.







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