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Sports News
Starlets To Show No Mercy 3/16/2007
Eritrea’s inexperience has put them at the mercy of two-time continental champions, Ghana, as the two nations clash in the second of today’s Group B matches at the Africa Under-17 football championship.

But attraction remains on Burkina Faso’s Young Stallions, who have declared war on Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets in the first of today’s matches to salvage their campaign in the championship.

The Black Starlets, following their convincing show in the 3-1 victory over Burkina Faso last Sunday, have been hailed as one of favourites for the cup, while their opponents’ 0-8 humiliation by Nigeria has left them in the category that Seychelles (0-8 losers to Mali in 2001), Botswana (0-7 losers to Cote d’Ivoire in 1997) and Tunisia (0-7 losers to Ghana in 1995) found themselves in during similar baptismal debuts.

These factors notwithstanding, Coach Fred Osam Duodu said the Starlets had no reason to underrate the East African nation.

“We consider them as potential title winners so we will treat them as such,” he said.

At least, his forwards who converted three brilliant goals provide expression to his belief that the best of the team is yet to show.

Nathaniel Asamoah, Ransford Osei and Ishmael Yartey will lead today’s attack that has the potential of upstaging Nigeria’s Macauley Chrisantus from the top scorer spot.

Burkina’s Coach Piouhiri Webonga believes that his side’s continued stay in the tournament hinges on a vintage show and a win against the Nigerians whose 8-0 drubbing of Eritrea has turned attention of both international scouts and the media to the team.

“We have to win our next match to remain in the competition,” Coach Webonga told the press after his side kowtowed 1-3 to Ghana’s Black Starlets in their opening match last Sunday.

“We have to correct our mistakes quickly and make sure we win our next match,” said the coach who is reported to have been in charge of the national Under-17 team since 1999.

While hailed as a super tactician when he guided the Young Stallions to New Zealand in 1997, his last two campaigns have proved his undoing in a twist of fate against his credentials.

In The Gambia in 2005, his best result was a 2-1 victory over Ghana in a first round elimination, and Togo 2007 appears headed for a similar flop.

Tella Ayidele, coach of Nigeria, maintains, however, that “we will play on our strength to benefit from their weakness, insisting though that “our strength is God”.

Coach Ayidele has leading scorer Macauley Chrisantus in an attacking line that has shown a remarkably improved form from the side that dropped out early in The Gambia, while Moussa Traore shoulders Burkina Faso’s goal scoring burden.


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