NEW DELHI: Two time FIFA U-17 World Cup champions Ghana are looking to end their 22-year trophy drought when they begin their FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 campaign against Colombia on 6th October at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.

Following a ten-year absence, the Black Starlets booked their ticket to the U-17 global extravaganza through their performances at this year’s U-17 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Ghana U-17 National Team Head Coach Paa Kwasi Fabin sounded confident while speaking to FIFA’s official website about his side’s passage to India: “We put in a big effort to get to the U-17 World Cup again. Qualifying was very tough, but our hard work paid off and we achieved our goal.”

To prepare for their long-awaited return to the big time, the Black Starlets held a training camp in the United Arab Emirates, where they contested two warm-up friendlies. Following a disappointing 2-0 loss to Mali, who also beat them in the U-17 AFCON final, they bounced back in style by crushing UAE 4-0. “My team are in good shape and we’re hopeful that our great preparations will stand the players in good stead,” the coach said.

Fabin, who has been at the helm since 2011, is aware of the fact that it will not be easy for Ghana to progress to the knockout rounds in India, having been placed in a tricky group along with hosts, Colombia and United States of America.

However, the gaffer backed his charges to continue rising to the challenges ahead and said: “We’ve been handed a very tough group. We’re up against the sort of sides who need no introduction, but we’re ready.”

This will be Ghana’s ninth appearance in the FIFA U-17 World Cup and are one of the favourities considering their performance in the CAF qualifiers.

However, it is always difficult to predict how a team will fare after such an extended absence from a competition, but Fabin signed off on a bullish note: “Our aim is to get to the final and win it.”

Ghana were crowned world champions in 1995 and 1999, and have also finished runners-up on two occasions.

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