New Delhi: Hello and welcome to our live coverage from match one in FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 as we bring you all the action here. The opener of the tournament will be played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. Ghana will probably go in as favourites considering they are two-time champions. Colombia on the other have had their best finish at number four, twice in the tournament, before.
Four years before that, the Ghanians shattered Spain’s dream in the summit showdown in 1991 for the African nation’s maiden triumph in the youth tournament. Though Ghana could not quite conjure up the same magic, which saw them lift two titles, in the following years, they still managed to reach the final on two occasions.
This time around, they are entering the tournament on the back of some very impressive performances in the Africa U-17 Cup of Nations. Ghana’s oponents, Colombia, are normally among the top four South American footballing nations alongside Brazil and Argentina, but they have not made it to the tournament since the 2009 edition when they finished third.
Colombia have so far competed in five editions of the tournament, finishing third on two occasions. They hustled and bustled their way to India with a last-ditch victory over continental rival Paraguay. Ghana’s head coach Paa Kwesi Fabin said his players are eager to rekindle the glory days of the past.
“In India, we’ll be out to show we’re the best. Our aim is to get to the final and win it,” Fabin had said. The 1990s marked a golden era for Ghana’s U-17 national team. The Black Starlets were the undoubted dominant force, reaching the final at four of the decade’s five FIFA U-17 World Cups, including lifting the trophy in 1991 (Italy) and 1995 (Ecuador). It also finished on the podium in 1999 (New Zealand).
However, it has been a different story since the turn of the century. Besides a brief revival in 2007, when it reached the semifinals, Ghana have consistently failed to hit the heights at this level, to the extent that it has only graced two of the last seven instalments of the U-17 World Cup. (With PTI inputs)