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Sports News
Ghana coach keen on U17 title 1/19/2007
Ghana coach Fred Osam Duodu is confident of a record third title despite a tough draw at the African under-17 Championship.

The Black Starlets were drawn on Wednesday to face 2001 champions Nigeria in Group B of the tournament to be held in Togo in March.

The two-time champions will also play 1999 finalists Burkina Faso as well as Eritrea.

Duodu, who led Gambia to the title two years ago, says even though the draw has pitted them against three difficult teams, it could work to their advantage.

Duodu added that being pitched in the so-called ''Group of Death'' means that the Black Starlets must ensure they hit the ground running from the very first match.

Group A
South Africa

"In some ways it is good too, we have to be on our toes from the start," Duodu told BBC Sport on Thursday.

"Any team that has qualified is well prepared for this tournament.

"Burkina Faso have a good youth system. They have a good side and over the years they have shown how strong they are in youth competitions.

"Nigeria comes with big players physically but football doesn''t deal with size.

"On the whole, we are getting on with our preparations. And I think we will be fine," he said.

Togo will take on South Africa in their opening match of the seventh edition of the competition on 10 March.

Group B
Burkina Faso

The host nation will also play Tunisia and Gabon in Group A.

The final of the two-week championship will take place on 24 March.

Only the top two in each group progress to the semi-finals.

The two finalists and the third-placed team qualify for the Fifa World under-17 championship to be held in South Korea, from 18 August to 9 September.

Ghana is the only country to have won the African under-17 Championship twice, having triumphed in 1995 and 1999.

Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon and Gambia, meanwhile, have all won the competition once.

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