CAF Under-23 Nations Cup: Meteors sail through to next stage

Ghana’s male Olympic football team, the Black Meteors, finished off the Mambinhas of Mozambique with a 2-0 victory in their second leg qualifier of the TotalEnergies CAF Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations Championship at the Baba Yara Stadium, yesterday.

The Ghanaians, thus, qualify on a 4-1 aggregate, having won the first leg 2-1 in Maputo, a week earlier.

Indeed, the Meteors were determined to secure back-to-back wins in their campaign, and lived up to expectation with some good football exhibition that slickly galvanised them to the final round of the contest.

Despite the result, the visitors were a delight to watch, especially in the first half as they succeeded in playing the Ghanaians in their own half for almost 30 minutes with Mohammed Sidat, DaniloBaptista and GianlucaLorenzino leading the onslaught, but could not find the net.

But the Meteors did not hesitate to make do with the only chance that fell on their path as Dreams FC’s Sylvester Simba blasted home a neat pass from Karela’s Augustine Randolf within the two minutes added-on time to end the half.

Earlier in the 39th minute, Sylvester Simba watched as his 30-yarder was parried to corner by goalkeeper Texeira Francisco.

A minute into the second half, Augustine  Randolf raced deep into the opponent’s area, relayed a beautiful pass to Abdul Razak Yusuf whose blast grazed the woodwork only for AfriyieBarnieh to head away the golden opportunity.

Seven minutes on, Sylvester Simba, having a field day, weaved his way through a forest of players but was mowed down in the box for a spot-kick which saw AfriyieBarnie adding his name to the score sheet.

The Mambinhas accepted the challenge and upped their game with substitute Pablo Bechardas pumping blood into the game.

And, Berchardas nearly reduced the tally as he mesmerised two players in the box, but his shot was too weak to beat keeper Ibrahim Danlad in the 73rd minute.

Mozambique’s efforts nearly yielded a result but CeltonJamisse’s pile driver into the net in the 88th minute was ruled offside which saw DaniloBaptista being yellow-carded for challenging the decision.

Head Coach of the Mambinhas, ChiquinhoConde, said he was disappointed by the result and blamed their exit for lack of proper preparation, stressing they had only 10 days to prepare.

The CAF Under-23 Nations Cup tournament is scheduled for Morocco in June, 2023.


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